ISTANBUL --- Turkey has won the tender for the procurement of four corvettes to the Pakistani Navy, Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said Thursday, saying that it was the highest export for Turkish defense industry in history.
Canikli's statement came in a press conference in Montenegro, where he is paying a visit to carry out meetings.
Shortly after, Turkish and Pakistani authorities have signed the deal for the tender in a ceremony in Rawalpindi attended by Deputy National Defense Minister and Military Factory and Shipyard Management Corporation (ASFAT) Board Chairman Şuay Alpay, Deputy Undersecretary of Ministry of National Defense and ASFAT Deputy Board Chairman Yunus Emre Karaosmanoğlu, Deputy Undersecretary of Ministry of National Defense and ASFAT Board Member Ambassador Basat Öztürk, Istanbul Shipyard Commander Rear Admiral Erdinç Yetkin and Islamabad Ambassador Ihsan Mustafa Yurdakul.
A presentation before the signing ceremony gave details about the four corvettes and sale process. Accordingly, negotiations began in 2015 and first purchase demand was made in 2017, whereas the final sale negotiations last for 12 days.
"It is multi-billion-dollar project and as Turkey, we undertake for a sophisticated project in the international field for the first time. Negotiations had been ongoing for over six months and they have been completed after a really difficult and exhaustive period, and it was signed today," Canikli said.
The tender's result is important to show the point that the Turkish defense industry has reached, Canikli said, noting that Turkey has beaten a number of powerful countries through a very good bid both in terms of quality and price.
In May 2017, Turkey and Pakistani defense companies had signed a goodwill agreement for the construction of four Turkish Ada class MİLGEM (National Ship) corvettes in the Karachi Shipyard. According to the final agreement, two ships will be built in Istanbul and two others in Karachi. Two corvettes will join to the inventory of Pakistan Naval Forces in 2023 and the remaining two in 2024.
Currently, four Ada-class ships serve in the Turkish Navy.
The first ship will be constructed in 54 months and the remaining ships will be built in 60, 66 and 72 months, respectively.
The corvettes, which will be able to cruise uninterruptedly for 15 days, will be 99.56 meters long and 14.42 meters wide with a maximum speed of 26 knots.
The deal also includes sharing engineering information and training engineers.
The deal was signed by Karaosmanoğlu on behalf of Turkey and Pakistani National Defense Ministry Ammunition Production General Manager Major Gen. Arshad Mahmoud and Karachi Shipyard Commander Rear Admiral Ather Selim.
The two countries enjoy brotherly relations and have deep cooperation in the defense field, including the training of military personnel.
Previously in June 2016, Turkish defense firm Defense Technologies and Engineering (STM) won the tender to modernize Pakistan's submarines against its French competitor DCNS, which is the designer and manufacturer of these submarines. STM had also designed the 158-meter Pakistan Navy Fleet Tanker (PNFT) built by the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works, and commissioned in 2018.
Recently in May, Ankara and Islamabad signed a deal for the sale of 30 Turkish attack helicopters. The T129 ATAK helicopter was developed by the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and Italy-based AgustaWestland, rebranded as Leonardo Helicopters in 2016.