Shanghai, Apr 7 : China launched the first of four F-22P frigates that it built for the Pakistani Navy under a 600 million US dollar deal, which was signed in April 2005, from a shipyard here. Prior to the launch, the Pakistani Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Afzal Tahir, said the frigates would form a very important component of Pakistan's surface fleet.
He also said that the deal would help in increasing the Pakistan's capabilities in shipbuilding and also the Karachi shipyard's capabilities in managing the construction of a large warship.
According to media reports, the ship will carry surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, helicopters, equipment to detect nuclear and conventional submarines, and anti-air guns capable of engaging incoming missiles.
Three of the ships will be built in China while the fourth will be constructed in a shipyard in the Pakistani port of Karachi under a "transfer of technology" deal between the two countries.
China assists Pakistan in building tanks for Pakistan's army as well as a nuclear power plant. The two countries have started joint production of JF-17 Thunder fighter jets for the Pakistani air force and the Al-Khalid tank in addition to the F-22 frigates.
The Pakistan Air Force also plans to buy new Chinese-made J-10 fighters in large numbers.
Pakistan has been given technical and financial assistance to build a deep-water port at Gwadar by China, which the country's main supplier of military equipment.