China on Friday delivered the first of the four state of the art F-22P frigates to its all-weather ally Pakistan in keeping with contracts signed between the countries four years ago.
The frigate constructed at Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard in the eastern Chinese city Shanghai was formally handed over to Pakistan Navy at a brief ceremony here, the APP reported.
Work on design and construction of F-22P ships started in 2005 after signing of a contract between Ministry of Defence Production and CSTC of China for construction of three ships in China and one at Karachi Shipyard. While first F-22P is now heading to Pakistan, all other three ships are at different stages of construction.
The F22P frigates are equipped with state of the art weaponry and sensors. They would also carry at Z9EC helicopter as integral part of the platform. The construction of 4th ship is to be completed by 2013.
Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Noman Bashir NI (M), said with the passage of time the relationship between Pakistan and China has grown deeper and fonder in all spheres of defence and economic cooperation.
"Pakistan is indeed proud of close association with China and this unique relationship does not draw any parallel elsewhere in the world," he said.
Addition of these ships will not only strengthen the PN Fleet with much needed potential but will also contribute in enhancing country's shipbuilding capabilities, Bashir said.