Islamabad, Nov 26: In a departure from the past practice of acquiring submarines from France, Pakistan will buy three German Type 214 submarines.
Walter Freitag, the chief executive officer of the HDW, the largest conventional submarine maker in the world, said his company had finalised technical specifications with the navy to build three Type 214 submarines in Pakistan. ''The commercial contract has been finalised up to 95 per cent,'' local English daily The News today quoted Mr Freitage as saying in the port city of Karachi. He hoped that the final contract in this regard would be signed soon. This is the first time that a clear picture of a possible billion-dollar deal that the Pakistan Navy is expected to sign in the coming months.
Earlier, during mid-90s, the navy had selected three French Agosta 90-B submarines, which were in addition to the two acquired earlier.
The deal had generated a lot of controversy at that time.
This time French firm Armaris had offered to supply Pakistan three updated single-hulled, diesel-electric submarines, all-French version of the Franco-Spanish Scorpene boat, equipped with air-independent propulsion, a deal totalling about 1.2 billion dollar.
However, Mr Freitag said he did not see that kind of controversy enveloping this project perceived during the 90s. ''The Pakistan Navy understands submarines and ours are the best,'' he said.
The first submarine would be delivered to the Pakistan Navy in 64 months after signing of the contract while the rest would be completed successively in 12 months.
The CEO of HDW stated they would be using facilities at the Karachi Shipyard for building Type 214 and minimal upgrade would be required.
He added that the Type 214 was 100 per cent German and there was no chance of embargo on it in any case.