The ground-breaking ceremony for the fourth MILGEM Ada class corvette made by Turkey for Pakistan was held in the southern port city of Karachi on Tuesday.
The ceremony at the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works -- Pakistan Navy's specialized shipbuilding division -- was attended by Pakistan Navy chief Adm. Amjad Khan Niazi, Esad Akgun, the chief executive officer of Turkey's state-run defense firm Asfat, and other senior officials from both sides.
In July 2018, the Pakistan Navy signed a contract for the acquisition of four MILGEM-class ships with Asfat.
According to the plan, two corvettes will be built in Turkey and the next two will be built in Pakistan, which also involves technology transfer.
Addressing the ceremony, Niazi hailed Asfat for achieving this milestone despite the global impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
He praised the cooperation of the Pakistan Navy, Astaf, Karachi Shipyard, and the Defense Production Ministry for the construction of the fighter ships.
The navy chief also thanked Ankara for its assistance and cooperation in defense and security fields.
Niazi said that Tuesday's event is a defining moment to further cement the bond of friendship between the two strategically aligned nations with common shared values, culture, and principles.
These corvettes will be fitted with the state-of-art surface, sub-surface and anti-air weapons and sensors, integrated through an advanced network central combat management system.
"The induction of MILGEM Corvettes will significantly enhance maritime defense and deterrence capabilities of the Pakistan Navy. These corvettes will become a core element of PN's kinetic response to traditional and non-traditional challenges and to maintain balance of power in the Indian Ocean Region," said a statement from Pakistan Navy.
Akgun, in his remarks, said that with the ground-breaking of the fourth corvette, the project is entering a phase of constructing all four ships at the same time.
Despite the setbacks of the pandemic, he said, Asfat is doing "everything humanly possible to keep the project in time and in budget."
Briefing on the ongoing MILGEM project, he said the production and installation of some 32 blocks on the slipway have been completed, both in Karachi and Istanbul.
Of these 32 blocks, he went on to say, 23 were produced and installed in Istanbul, while the remaining nine in Karachi.
Another 14 blocks have been produced in Turkey, and are ready to be installed, he added.
Some 38 blocks are under construction in Pakistan.
A total of 1,600 tons of steel, he further said, have been processed.
"With 19 shipments, more than 2,000 documents, 145 containers and almost 3,800 tons of material and equipment have been sent to Karachi," he said.
"Every event [like this] is another steel plate welded to our brotherhood roots," Akgun said.
MILGEM vessels are 99 meters long with a displacement capacity of 24,00 tons and can move at a speed of 29 nautical miles.
MILGEM anti-submarine combat frigates, which can be hidden from the radar, will further enhance the defense capability of the Pakistan Navy.
In October 2019, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan along with the then Pakistan Navy Chief Adm. Zafar Mahmood Abbasi had cut the first metal plate of the first MILGEM Ada class corvette during a ceremony in Istanbul.
Turkey is one of the 10 countries in the world which can build, design, and maintain warships using its national capabilities.