Pakistan Navy Launches First Hangor-Class Submarine

Pakistan Navy Launches First Hangor-Class Submarine

The first formal launch of the Hangor class submarines has been carried out for Pakistan. Pakistan has ordered a total of eight submarines from China. We will discuss the features, weapons, and timeline of these submarines, so let’s start.
The first Hangor ship launching ceremony has been carried out for Pakistan Navy in China, marking the formal launch of the Hangor class submarines series. Now, these submarines will undergo various stages of testing, weapons and systems installation, and integration before being handed over to the Pakistan Navy formally. Chief of the Pakistan Navy, Admiral Naveed Ashraf, participated in the ceremony held in China as the chief guest.

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Contract and construction

The contract for eight Hangor class submarines between Pakistan and China was signed in April 2015. Under this contract, four submarines are being built in China, while the remaining four are being constructed under transfer of technology at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KS&EW) in Pakistan.
It is worth mentioning that the construction of the second submarine being built at Karachi Shipyard commenced formally in February this year. Meanwhile, the construction of the first submarine at Karachi Shipyard began in December 2021.

Design and version

Pakistan Navy’s Hangor class submarines are based on the basic design of China’s Type 039A Yuan class submarines, with China’s Navy operating nearly twenty Yuan class submarines in its service.
This submarine is also referred to as Type 41 Yuan class submarine. The Hangor class submarine has slightly less displacement and size compared to China’s Type 039A Yuan class submarines. Following the Type 039A, China has also developed new and upgraded versions named Type 039B in 2020 and Type 039C in 2021.

Basic characteristics

During the Ideas Defence Exhibition 2018, Karachi Shipyard unveiled the specifications for the Hangor class submarines. These submarines have a displacement of 2,800 tons, while the submerged displacement is reported to be 3,600 tons. They have a length of 76 meters and a draft of 6.7 meters, with a beam of 8.4 meters. The depth is stated to be 8.4 meters.
Therefore, these submarines have greater length and displacement compared to Russia’s Project 636 and China’s Song class submarines. However, they are shorter in length and have less displacement compared to Japan’s Soryu class submarines.
All these submarines are equipped with an air-independent propulsion system. Hence, they do not require snorkeling for extended periods and can operate underwater for several weeks.
The range of this submarine is reported to be 6,500 nautical miles (approximately 12,000 kilometers), with a speed of twenty knots. It can accommodate a crew of fifty-six personnel.
The Hangor class submarines of the Pakistan Navy are equipped with six torpedo tubes, each measuring 533 millimeters in diameter, and they do not feature a vertical launch system.
These submarines can fire heavyweight torpedoes, as well as anti-ship cruise missiles, from their torpedo tubes. It is noteworthy that with six torpedo tubes, these submarines can simultaneously launch four anti-ship cruise missiles on enemy ships because two tubes are used for self-defense with torpedoes.
In the anti-ship role, the submarines can carry the YJ-18 anti-ship cruise missile, while Pakistan’s nuclear-capable Babur III cruise missile can also be launched from these submarines.
It’s worth noting that the export version of the YJ-18 has a range of 290 kilometers, while the range of the Babur missile is reported to be between 400 to 700 kilometers.

Other systems

Pakistan Navy has installed various types of European systems and sub-systems in its locally manufactured Agosta class submarines for their mid-life upgrades. These include Electronic Intelligence systems, navigational radars, periscopes, torpedo countermeasures, and optronics mast, besides significant electronic support measures. However, the systems of the Hangor class submarines have not been disclosed yet.
Pakistan is also currently developing local electronic support systems, so the possibilities of using these capabilities on future submarines on the same surface platforms are also available.

Current Schedule and Delays

The initial four submarines of Pakistan’s Hangor class were slated for delivery by 2023, while the remaining four were to be delivered by 2025. The program faced delays as Germany, the selected provider of MTU 396 SE84 engines, declined to provide them. Consequently, this led to setbacks in the program’s schedule. Now, Chinese-made SMD24 20 engines will be used for these submarines. Initial submarine delivery is expected by the end of this year or early next year, while the rest are anticipated to be delivered next year.
Former Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi stated in 2020 that Pakistan Navy would acquire the Type 039A submarines from China’s Navy to commence personnel training before the induction of the Hangor class submarines.

Pakistan Navy Submarine Force

The Submarines play a critical role in the defense of any country. Pakistan Navy, keeping in view the threats in the region, not only relies on conventional weapons but also maintains a fleet of nuclear-armed submarines. The Submarine Force equipped with nuclear-capable missiles has provided Pakistan with second-strike capability and completed its nuclear triad.

After the upgrades or modernization of all three Agosta class submarines, it is expected that upon their induction into the Pakistan Navy by 2035, the Hangor class submarines will further enhance this capability. Currently, only the Khalid class, i.e., Agosta submarines equipped with air-independent propulsion, are capable of firing the nuclear-capable Babur III cruise missile.
Pakistan Navy also plans to include Shallow Water Attack Submarines in its fleet in the near future.
It is hoped that this article will provide you with ample information about the capabilities of the Hangor class submarines, their expected armaments, and timeline. Feel free to express your opinion in the comment section.

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