Turkish-made military tanker ship joins Pakistan navy

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 19.08.2016 19:47
Updated 19.08.2016 19:48

Built for the Pakistan Navy by primary contractor Defense Industries Engineering Inc. (STM), the Pakistan Navy Fleet Tanker is the biggest one-time warship export from Turkey's defense industry, making its maiden voyage in a ceremony organized to honor Pakistan's independence. The inaugural ceremony for the Fleet Tanker was attended by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Undersecretary of Defense Industries İsmail Demir and STM General Manager Davut Yılmaz, along with military officials from both countries. Speaking at the ceremony, Prime Minister Sharif said that Pakistan's collaboration with Turkey will continue, and hoped that more ships will be built in the future. Expressing his thanks to the institutions and organizations that contributed in the project, Sharif said that the Pakistan Navy Fleet Tanker will symbolize the fellowship between Pakistan and Turkey. Acknowledging the geographical distance between the two countries, the Pakistani prime minister said that Turkey and Pakistan have close ties thanks to sharing common interests, civilizations and sharing similar fates. Sharif went on to say that the construction of the fleet tanker opened the door for future collaboration between Turkey and Pakistan in the field of battleship construction, and the improvement of defense product quality. "Pakistan is aware of the crucial role of the establishment of the shipbuilding industry in the country's economic growth and creation of job opportunities. The improvement of this industry will make significant contributions to the country's economy."

Stressing that the fleet tanker project is a success story for the two countries, Undersecretary Demir said Turkey and Pakistan need more cooperation and collaborations considering today's security concerns, adding that collaboration in the defense industry matters more in this time of unstable environment, as both countries are facing increasing terrorist threats. Recalling the visit of a delegation from Pakistan's Parliament on Aug. 18 to show their support, Demir said that Turkey is aware of Pakistan's support and is appreciative, stressing that Turkey will stand by Pakistan during tough times.

Stating that the collaboration between Turkey and Pakistan in the defense industry has recently gained momentum, Demir said some high-level contacts had been made between the two countries in defense contracts; with the Pakistan Navy Fleet Tanker being the first of these contracts. "This tanker will surely operate for 30 to 40 years, and it will be the first of many projects to be conducted between the two countries in this field. Their collaboration is a good example of the win-win approach," Demir said.

Pointing out that low-cost projects which involved technology transfer, capacity-sharing and common production features, despite differences between the two countries' technologies, approaches and relations, Demir said many other projects would be carried out for the navy as well as military, land forces, and air forces. He added that the fighter jet development program is open to Pakistanis and jointly-built Turkish-Pakistani fighter jets are likely to fly in coming years.

Serving as a first in the shipbuilding industry between Pakistan and Turkey, the project is noteworthy for the exemplary and original collaboration efforts in the defense and the shipbuilding industry.

Making a breakthrough in the construction of warships, the Turkish shipbuilding industry has manufactured byproducts in this field, as well as designing and engineering services. Twenty Turkish firms took part in the project. The Fleet Tanker, which cost approximately $90 million, will be the biggest ship in Pakistan's naval history. Designed for the Pakistan Navy, the Fleet Tanker weighs 15,600 tons with an approximate length of 155 meters. Reaching speeds of up to 20 knots, the tanker has a replenishment-at-sea system (RAS/FAS) and a helicopter landing pad.

It is equipped with superior logistical, defense and attack capabilities, in addition to functioning as a tanker.

The design of the tanker was completed in Turkey, while the vessel was built in the Karachi Shipyard. The project was signed into effect on January 22, 2013 and the First Steel Cut Ceremony was conducted on Nov. 27, 2013.

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