‘Pakistan to buy German submarines’

November 27th, 2008 - 12:15 am ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Nov 26 (DPA) Pakistan has formally decided to buy three Type 214 German submarines under a more than $1 billion deal that the two countries are expected to sign in coming months, a media report said Wednesday.German shipbuilding company Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft GmbH (HDW) will construct the diesel-electric submarines in a shipyard in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi, Pakistan’s English-language daily The News reported.

“The commercial contract has been finalised up to 95 percent,” Walter Freitag, the chief executive officer of the HDW, the largest conventional submarine maker in the world told the newspaper, hoping that the final agreement will be signed soon.

Freitag, who was interviewed during Pakistani defence products exhibition named IDEAS 2008 in Karachi, said the first submarine would be delivered to Pakistan Navy in 64 months once the contract is signed.

“The rest would be completed in the next 12 months,” he added.

Pakistan has traditionally relied on French submarines for its Naval defence and it is first time that the South Asian country has opted for German boats.

Earlier, French firm Armaris, a subsidiary of France’s Thales group, had lobbied for the sale of three Marlin type submarines, the latest version of the three Agosta 90-B boats, the last of which the company handed over to Pakistan in 2006.

“The Pakistan navy understands submarines, and ours are best,” Freitag said.

“We use higher grade steel material, which allows greater diving depth. Also, we have fuel cell AIPs and can integrate Harpoons with the Type 214,” he added.

The non-nuclear Type 214 is a 65-metre-long boat which can dive more than 25 metres but it lacks technology to avoid detection.

Pakistan’s quest for new submarines was prompted after its traditional nuclear-armed rival India reached a 1.5 billion euro deal in 2005 with a French company for seven Scorpion submarine.

But even with Type 214, Pakistan will be lagging behind India as Scorpion submarines are believed to be technologically superior to the German boats.

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