May 30, 2017

Pakistan's 8 future submarines to carry the deadly Hangor name

More is being revealed about Pakistan's relatively large conventional submarine program. Large in terms of:
-  the future submarines will be 2,300 tons submerged (larger than the 1,800 ton average), and 
-  in numbers (8 future Hangor-class subs to add to the 3 already operational Agosta 90Bs and the 2 older Agosta 70s subs perhaps still used for training) 

Pakistan's (?) QUWA Group May 28, 2017 reported:  
-  the 8 future submarines will be called the Hangor - class 
-  Pakistan's STM will lead an upgrade program for the 3 existing Agosta 90B submarines, which
   are air independent propulsion (AIP) equipped. 
-  Pakistan is also aiming to develop a new mini-sub.

Each of the 8 future Hangors is expected to cost only US$350-400 million. If true this will be far lower than the $500-600 million for (even non-AIP) European built submarines.

Without mentioning "Hangor class", wikipedia reportsPakistani Navy officials have confirmed that AIP will on the new Hangors. "The type of AIP system has not been disclosed. China's Stirling AIP system has been speculated as the most likely solution though a Fuel-cell AIP has been deemed as more effective for the warm waters of Pakistan's coastal waters and the Arabian sea."China may not necessarily include AIP. AIP being a separate item often costing at least $100 million per submarine. European designed or new generation Chinese AIP could be plugged in during the builds or  retrofitted. 

Where's the money coming from?

Where the deeply in debt Pakistan is getting the money to buy 8 AIP equipped submarines is a mystery:

-  probably US civilian and military aid, overt and covert, may not amount to much of it - given the 
   US would not be happy with Pakistan buying big-ticket Chinese weapon systems

-  military aid from Saudi Arabia might be more likely, especially if Pakistan is hosting Saudi crew
   training, construction and maintenance training, for the slowly and quietly developing Saudi
   submarine program

-  China would be cross-subsidizing the Hangors, thus achieving the low prices, because Pakistan is a
   strategic ally against mutual enemy, India. Pakistan also has some influence in minimising Central
   Asian Islamic terrorism occurring in China.


ThDaphné class PNS Hangor (I), with its Commander Ahmad Tasnim. (Photo courtesy Alchetron)

The choice of "Hangor" for the future class would be on account of the success of the original Hangor. Submarine aficionados will recall that during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971,  PNS Hangor torpedoed and sank Indian ASW frigate, INS Khukri. Hangor was a Daphné-class submarine that served in the Pakistan Navy from 1970 to 2006. So Pakistan sunk a frigate but lost the 1971 war.


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