DETAILS OF THE PAKISTAN NAVY’S AGOSTA 90B SUBMARINE UPGRADE PROGRAM

In June 2016 the Pakistan Navy (PN) signed a $350 million US contract with Turkey’s Savunma Teknolojileri Mühendislik A.Ş. (STM) to upgrade its three Agosta 90B air-independent propulsion (AIP) submarines.[1] As per STM, the first upgraded submarine – PNS Khalid — is scheduled for delivery in 45 months. This would place its delivery in 2020. The remaining two are to be delivered within 12 months of the preceding ship.[2]

Currently, the PN has signed onto upgrading two of the three submarines, with the contract for the second – PNS Saad – being signed in February 2018.[3] STM will implement the upgrade at Karachi Shipyards and Engineering Works (KSEW). The contract for the third ship – PNS Hamza – should follow in the short-term.

Labelled a ‘Mid-Life-Update’, the upgrade is primarily concentrated in changing the submarine’s electronic subsystems, such as its sonar, radar, combat management system (CMS), electronic intelligence (ELINT) or passive sensors and the like. Described in detail below, these subsystems are being acquired from first, second and third-party sources, with the latter including South Africa, the UK and Germany.

Based on verifiable and open-source information, the subsystems described below (i.e. from Hensoldt, Kelvin Hughes, Aselsan, Havelsan and Atlas Elektronik) will be integrated into the Agosta 90B. However, while an electronics upgrade, it must be noted that by pairing the subsystems below the PN should be able to achieve a credible level of sensor fusion in the Agosta 90B.

In October 2016, STM awarded Hensoldt Optronics South Africa (HOSA) a contract to supply its OMS 200 optronic mast and SERO 250 periscope.[4] The OMS 200 comprises of a high-definition television camera, a laser rangefinder and shortwave infrared (SWIR) camera.[5] It can be integrated to the submarine’s combat management system (CMS) such that it can be controlled from CMS consoles. Pakistan will pair the OMS 200 with the HOSA SERO 250 periscope and, like the OMS 200, can be integrated to the ship’s CMS.[6]

Integrating the OMS 200 and SERO 250 to the Agosta 90B will result in the following benefits. First, a boost to the Agosta 90B’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities by giving it the capacity to capture high-quality visual assets (e.g. video, thermal imagery, etc). Second, automation thanks to the ability to control these systems via CMS) which will offer submarine commanders additional flexibility.