IMINT confirms Type 041 visit to Karachi

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James Hardy, London and Sean O'Connor, Indianapolis, Indiana - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
08 July 2015


China has marketed the Type 041 overseas as the S20 submarine. Source: IHS/Patrick Allen
Satellite imagery has confirmed the visit to Karachi of a People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Type 041 'Yuan'-class diesel-electric attack submarine (SSK) in late May.

The imagery, provided by Airbus Defence and Space, shows the submarine alongside at Karachi's commercial port on 28 May, a few hundred metres north of Pakistan's main naval base.

The Type 041 'Yuan' class is described by IHS Jane's Fighting Ships as a diesel electric attack submarine, potentially with Stirling air independent propulsion, that is armed with YJ-2 (YJ-82) anti-ship missiles and a combination of Yu-4 (SAET-50) passive homing and Yu-3 (SET-65E) active/passive homing torpedoes.

A senior Pakistani government official told IHS Jane's on 1 July that the visit was a "routine affair and nothing more", a sentiment shared by senior Indian Navy officials.



China has marketed the Type 041 overseas as the S20 submarine. (IHS/Patrick Allen)

The Type 041 was accompanied by a Type 925 'Dajiang'-class submarine support ship, which is apparently standard PLAN procedure: a Type 039 SSK port visit to Colombo in September - one of two such visits to occur in 2014 - was accompanied by Type 925-class tender Changxingdao (861).

The visit of the Type 041 to Karachi follows reports by IHS Jane's in April that the Pakistan government had approved the purchase of eight submarines from China, likely to be a Type 041 derivative. On 2 July Thailand announced that it had selected the Type 041 for the Royal Thai Navy's requirement for three submarines. The boats, which are expected to cost THB36 billion (USD1 billion), will enter service with the S26T designation.

On 3 July the Press Trust of India quoted a senior PLAN officer as saying that the Type 041 in Karachi was en route to anti-piracy operations off Somalia, and defended the use of submarines in these types of operations.

"Why can't submarines participate in anti-piracy operations? Submarines also participate in anti-piracy operations along with other fleets," said Senior Captain Wei Xiaodong, chief of staff at the Shanghai Naval Garrison, when asked by Indian reporters why the PLAN sends submarines when other countries send surface ships.
IMINT confirms Type 041 visit to Karachi - IHS Jane's 360
 
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