Turkey reportedly announced this week that it has agreed to build four of its indigenous “Ada-class” naval corvette warships for Pakistan’s military, marking an unprecedented export deal for the country.
“A tender opened by the Pakistan Navy to supply four corvettes has just been concluded, and Turkey has won the tender,” .
Turkish National Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli told the state-owned Anadolu Agency (AA) on Thursday, without revealing any cost figures.
"This will be the largest single export in the history of Turkish defense industry,”
Turkish National Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli told reporters, adding “Turkey has undertaken such a sophisticated project for the first time.”
Canikli revealed that Turkey and Pakistan have been discussing the deal for six months, adding that they agreed to build two of the corvettes in Istanbul Shipyard and the other two in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi.
Turkey and Pakistan signed a memorandum of understanding to produce the warships in May 2017, Hurriyet Daily News reports.
The indigenous “Ada-class” naval corvettes, which are 99.5 meters in length, have been designed to carry out various missions such as surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, air defense, surveillance and reconnaissance, command-control and asymmetric defense warfare missions .
The ships, which are named after the Princes’ Islands off Istanbul, are designed for search and rescue, patrol and anti-submarine warfare duties and are armed with a 76-millimeter gun, missiles, and torpedoes.
The corvettes can also accommodate a crew of 93 and a Seahawk helicopter on their flight deck.
The agreement between Turkey and Pakistan comes amid strained relations between the Washington and Islamabad over Pakistan’s reluctance to stop harboring Islamist terrorists operating in neighboring Afghanistan.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has suspended military aid to Pakistan until it takes decisive action against jihadists who operate on its soil and are fighting against American troops and their allies in Afghanistan, namely the Afghan Taliban and its al-Qaeda-linked partner, the Haqqani Network.
America’s support for Syrian Kurdish groups considered terrorists by Turkey has also driven a wedge between NATO allies Ankara and Washington.
“In my time in this administration, it has been difficult with the Turks. It was difficult before that as well.
Our decision to work closely with the [Kurdish-led] SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces] was something that they were not happy about,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told American lawmakers late last month.