Military Wiki
Pakistan Navy
Pakistan Navy emblem.svg
Pakistan Navy's Crest
Active 14 August 1947 – present
Country  Pakistan
Branch Navy
Size 27,000 active personnel
5,000 reserves
71 ships
40 aircraft
Part of Minister of Defense
Pakistan Armed Forces
Naval Headquarters (NHQ) NHQ, Islamabad
Nickname(s) پاک بحریہ (Pak Bahr'ya) or PN
Motto(s) A Silent Force To Be Reckon With....
Colours Navy blue and White         
Anniversaries Navy Day is on 8 September
Decorations Military and Civil decorations of Pakistan.
Battle honours Nishan-e-Haider
Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Asif Sandila
Admiral Mohammad Shariff
Admiral Iftikhar Ahmed Sirohey
Vice-Admiral Syed Mohammad Ahsan
Standard (flag) of the Navy Naval Standard of Pakistan.svg
Naval Jack of Pakistan Naval Jack of Pakistan.svg
Naval Ensign of Pakistan Naval Ensign of Pakistan.svg
Rank Flag of an Admiral of the Fleet Pakistan Navy Admiral of the Fleet.svg
Aircraft flown
Attack Dassault Mirage 5
Hawker 850
Helicopter Westland Lynx, Aérospatiale SA-319B Alouette III, Harbin Z-9
Patrol Lockheed P-3C Orion, Fokker F27-2000, Breguet Atlantique I
Transport Westland Sea King,

The Pakistan Navy (Urdu language: پاک بحریہ

English IPA: Pɑk Bahri'a) (reporting name: PN), is the naval warfare branch of the Pakistan Armed Forces, responsible for Pakistan's 1,046 kilometres (650 mi) coastline along the Arabian Sea and the defence of important civilian harbours and military bases. The Pakistan Navy came into the existence after the independence of Pakistan in 1947, and the Navy is currently headed by Admiral Asif Sandila. Navy Day is celebrated on 8 September in commemoration of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.[1]

The Pakistan Navy's current and primary role is to protect the country's economic and military interests at home and abroad, executing the foreign and defence policies of the Government of Pakistan through the exercise of military effect, diplomatic activities and other activities in support of these objectives.[2][3] As for the 21st century, the Pakistan Navy also focuses on limited global expeditionary operations, and played a vital role in the establishment of Pakistan Antarctic Programme.[4][5]

The Pakistan Navy is also supported by the Pakistan Coast Guard, Pakistan Marines, and the Maritime Security Agency (MSA), the combat paramilitary division of the Pakistan Navy.[citation needed]

The Pakistan Navy is currently undergoing extensive modernisation and expansion as part of Pakistan's role in the War on Terror. Since 2001, the Pakistan Navy has increased and expanded its operational scope and has been given greater national and international responsibility in countering the threat of sea-based global terrorism, drug smuggling and trafficking issues.[citation needed] Since 2004, Pakistan Navy became a member of the primarily NATO Combined Task Forces CTF-150 and CTF-151.[6]

The Constitution of Pakistan makes the President of Pakistan the civilian Commander-in-Chief. The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), by statute a four star admiral, is appointed by the President with the consultation and confirmation needed from the Prime Minister of Pakistan. The Chief of Naval Staff is subordinate to the civilian Defence Minister and Secretary of Defence, and commands the Navy.


Today is a historic day for Pakistan, doubly so for those of us in the Navy. The Dominion of Pakistan has come into being and with it a new Navy – the Royal Pakistan Navy – has been born. I am proud to have been appointed to command it and serve with you at this time. In the coming months, it will be my duty and yours to build up our Navy into a happy and efficient force

Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, addressing the Naval Academy in March 1948., [7]

The Pakistan Navy came into existence on Fourteenth of August, 1947 with the establishment of State of Pakistan.[7] The Armed Forces Reconstitution Committee (AFRC) divided the Royal Indian Navy between both India and Pakistan. The Royal Pakistan Navy secured two sloops, two frigates, four minesweepers, two naval trawlers, four harbour launches and some 358 personnel (180 officers and 34 ratings) and was given a number of harbour defence motor launches. Since It was also given a high percentage of the delta areas on the Pakistan coast. As part of the Commonwealth of Nations, the prefix "Royal" was added until the state was proclaimed a republic in 1956.[7] However, the Navy endured a difficult history, only 200 officers and 3000 sailors were inherited to the Navy, the most senior being Commodore HMS Chaudhry.[8] The Navy suffered the perennial problems suffered by inadequate staff, lack of operational naval bases, technological and personnel resources. It was also the smallest armed forces in terms of technical staff, equipments, and officers as compared to army and the air force.[8] Despite its difficulty, the Navy faced the challenging obstacles and launched an extreme level of recruitment programme for the young nation, first starting from the East-Pakistan.[8] However it proved to be difficult to sustain a program in East Pakistan, therefore the Navy pushed its program to West Pakistan instead.[8]

The beginning[]

Frigate Shamsher in 1951

The Pakistan Navy saw no action during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 as all the fighting was restricted to land warfare, although Commodore Sidik Chaudhry took participation in planning stages of the operations.[citation needed] However, the Navy remained under pressure during the conflict when the Navy began evacuation of Pakistan's nationals from the disputed and hostile places in disputed areas, with the frigates constantly and continuously running their operations on regular day and night basis.[8] Rear-Admiral James Wilfred Jefford, chief of naval staff, had to drawn an "Short-term Emergency Plan (STEP)" to work up the frigates and naval defences.[8] In 1948, the directorate-general for Naval Intelligence (DGNI), a staff corps, was established under the command of Commander Syed Mohammad Ahsan who served its first Director-General, in Karachi. Finally the 1947 war came to cease fire, the Navy began the expansion of naval facilities and bases establishing a navy headquarter in Karachi as well as acquiring the first O Class destroyer from the Royal Navy in 1949.[8]

The operational history of Pakistan Navy began in 1949 when the Royal Navy donated two battle destroyers, the PNS Tippu Sultan and PNS Tariq. The Tippu Sultan was given commissioned on 30 September 1949 under Commander P.S. Evans whilst Tariq was placed under command of Lieutenant-Commander Afzal Rahman Khan. The two destroyers formed the 25th Destroyer Squadron of Pakistan Navy. The PNS Jhelum and PNS Tughril commanded by Commander Muzaffar Hasan as well joined the Pakistan Navy.[citation needed]

In 1950, the Navy went under extensive nationalisation and consolidation programme in which large numbers of officers promoted, were native officers of Pakistan Navy. The dockyard, logistics facilities and engineering units were formed while further vigorous efforts were pushed to integrate the navy presence in East-Pakistan into fully development plan for the navy and create opportunities for people belonging to the East-Pakistan to participate in the build-up of the Navy. During this time, command and field appointments in certain key assignments in Naval Combatant Headquarters (NHQ) were given to native officers to replace the admirals of Royal Navy.[citation needed]First, Commander Khalid Jamil was appointed as navy's first Pakistani Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (DCNS) while Rear-Admiral James Wilfred Jefford served as first chief of naval staff until 1953.[citation needed]The chief of naval staff was assisted in the matters of navy by Deputy Chief of Staff Commander M. A. Alavi whilst other administrative positions were also re-designed and created by the Pakistan Government.[citation needed]Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance awarded contracts to Corps of Engineers of Pakistan Army to led the construction of NHQ in Karachi and the Karachi Naval Dockyard in mid-1950s. During this time, a number of goodwill missions were carried out by Pakistan Navy's combatant ships and non-combat missions were conducted under close auspicious of Royal Navy. The Pakistan Navy ships toured and visited the places worldwide with the Royal Navy. In 1950, Commodore Chaudhry took the command of PNS Shamsheer, later became Commander of Pakistan Fleet. In 1953, Chaudhry was appointed first Pakistani chief of naval staff and handed over the command of 25th destroyer squadron to Captain Romould Nalecz Tyminski, first Polish naval officer of Pakistan Navy.[citation needed]

PNS Badr, a destroyer visiting Britain, 1957.

In 1956, the Parliament of Pakistan unanimously passed the 1956 Constitution of Pakistan and proclaimed the State of Pakistan as Islamic Republic under the new constitution. The prefix Royal was dropped and the service was re-designated as the Pakistan Navy, or "PN" for its reporting name. The PN Jack and Pakistan flag replaced the Queen's colour and the White Ensign respectively. The order of precedence of the three services changed from Navy, Army, Air force to Army, Navy, Air Force.[citation needed]

In February 1956, the British government announced supplying of several major surface combatants to Pakistan. These warships, a cruiser and four destroyers were purchased with funds made available under the US Military Assistance Program. The acquisition of a few additional warships from 1956 to 1963 – two destroyers, eight coastal minesweepers and an oiler, was the direct result of Pakistan's participation in the anti-Communist defence pacts of SEATO and CENTO. During this time, the Navy made an effort to acquire the first submarine but attempts were rebuff as the political situation in Pakistan had worsened in 1950s.[8]

Indo-Pakistan war of 1965[]

Soon after the Kashmir incursion was launched, the Navy was well-prepared when the battle between Pakistan and the Indian Army began.[8] Chief of naval staff Admiral Afzal Rahman Khan ordered all units of Pakistan Navy to sail to take up the defensive position off the coast, but did not take any active measures in Bay of Bengal.[8] During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, the Indian Air Force's repeated sorties and raids disrupted and effectively distracted the PAF's air missions in the conflict, leading the Navy to jump in the conflict.[citation needed] On 2 September, the Navy first deployed its first long-range submarine, the PNS Ghazi charging the gathering intelligence management and analysis of Indian naval movements.[citation needed] Ghazi was a lead class submarine and flagship submarine of Pakistan and was commanded by Commander Karamat Rahman Niazi (later four-star admiral). Ghazi was not restricted to making engagements or contacts with Indian naval frigates, missiles boats or corvettes, it was also charged with diverting threats posed by INS Vikrant.[citation needed]

The submarine PNS Ghazi during the Indo-Pakistani war of 1965. Pakistan suffered the loss of expensive and long-range submarine (as well as 100 personnel) in 1971 after it was sunk under mysterious circumstances.

In 6 September, the Naval Intelligence began the operational planning of thwarting the Indian Air Force's raids after giving approvals of deploying 25th Destroyer Squadron led by Commodore S. M. Anwar.[citation needed] On 6 September, a combatant squadron comprising four destroyers, one frigate, one cruiser, and one submarine under Commodore S.M. Anwar was deployed to the city of Dwarka to destroy the radar facility used by the Indian Air Force.[citation needed] The radar facility and naval facilities of Dwarka were shelled and bombarded, The radar installation was shelled during the bombardment but neither the radar was damaged nor were any casualties reported. The Indian Navy did not take any counter-actions against naval raid; the destroyer squadron remained 100 miles away from Dwarka, changing the course on anti-aircraft mission.[citation needed]

Apart from carrying out successful bombardment of the coastal town of Dwaraka – codenamed Operation Dwarka – the navy's submarine Ghazi was deployed, Pakistan's first submarine and remaining the flagship submarine for Pakistan Navy until deployed against Indian Navy's western fleet at Bombay (Mumbai) port.[9] Ghazi remained on the course on 22 September detecting the sonar contacts with the Indian Navy. After two weeks of chasing down the sonar contacts, the Ghazi caught up the roaming frigate INS Kuthar.[citation needed] Ghazi, while underwater, fired four homing torpedoes while observing that first two homing torpedoes hit its designated target, although Ghazi failed to sink the frigate. On 23 September, Ghazi ended her operations when it cleared the coast of naval borders of Pakistan on its way to Karachi Naval Dockyard.[citation needed]

The Operation Dwarka was an ultimate success for Pakistan Navy, a daring naval offence against India that had achieved a greater symbolic and strategic values for the Navy.[10] The attack surprised the Indian Navy and realised the significant threat posed by the Pakistan Navy.[10] After the war, the Indian Navy went into an extreme level of modernisation and procurement of naval system whilst the Pakistan Navy failed to meet with Indian Navy's extreme expansion and modernisation programme after the 1965 war.[citation needed] The operational capacity of Pakistan Navy was limited and decreased as comparing to Indian Navy during the 1965–70 period.[citation needed] After the war, Navy as well as the government noted the Indian Navy's expansion that allowed Navy to acquire three Daphné class submarine from France while the Navy was operating Tench class submarine from the United States, and established the Naval special forces in 1966.[8] The Navy also attempted to established a naval air service, composing of fighter jets, but this was impossible to achieve. The lack of funds and the air force itself objected the plans fearing to risk and lose its aircraft in open-sea operations.[8]

The lack of apathy in the Navy's affairs by the then-President General Ayub Khan further deteriorated and jeopardise the operational scope of the Navy. In 1970, General Yahya Khan made series of reforms and increased the diameter of operational scope of Navy, adding and giving more responsibility to Navy.[citation needed]

Indo-Pakistan war of 1971[]

The Pakistan Navy had a poor presence of conducting operations East Pakistan, it had lack of capacity of conducting offensive operations in deep Bay of Bengal.[citation needed] The entire Navy was deployed in (West) Pakistan and instead in East-Pakistan, the Navy relied on deploying Naval Special Service Group and the entire formation of Pakistan Marines (PM), initially charged with conducting expeditionary operations.[citation needed] The city of Karachi, the hub of Pakistan's maritime trade, housed the combatant headquarters of the Pakistan Navy and almost the entire naval fleet. Although proposals were made to increased the naval presence in East Pakistan but no serious reforms were made. On 15 March 1971, the Navy special forces launched the counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operation, codename Operation Jackpot and followed by full scale offence, codename Operation Barisal on April 1971. This was followed by the deployment of PNS Ghazi on East Pakistan, initially charged with gathering intelligence management on Indian naval efforts on East Pakistan.

At then end of East-Pakistan crisis.... We (Pakistan Navy, Eastern Command) had no intelligence and hence, were both deaf and blind with the Indian Navy and Indian Air Force pounding us day and night....

—Admiral Mohammad Sharif, telling U.S. Admiral Zumwalt in 1971.[11]

PNS Nazim which previously took part in the Vietnam and Korean Wars with the USN

Under the direction of former Commander of Navy, Admiral Syed Mohammad Ahsan, the navy's presence in East Pakistan was tripled.[12] A command size naval assets were expanded with an administrative naval units operating in East Pakistan. In 1969, Admiral Ahsan was sent to East Pakistan and became the unified commander of Pakistan Armed Forces in East Pakistan.[12] The Eastern Naval Command posed a significant threat to existing Indian Navy's Eastern Naval Command.[12] Therefore, Indian Navy launched the Operation Jackpot to disturb the Eastern High Command and its existence in Eastern wing. With East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) having been surrounded on all three sides by the Indian Army, the PN was attempting to prevent Indian access to the coast.[12]

On 4 December, the Indian Navy launched a naval attack, Operation Trident, consisting of 3 OSA class missile boats escorted by two anti-submarine patrol vessels. Nearing the Karachi port, they detected Pakistan's naval presence and launched their SS-N-2 Styx anti-ship missiles. The obsolescent Pakistan naval ships had no viable defence against such missiles[13] and, as a result, the PNS Muhafiz and PNS Khyber were both sunk while the PNS Shahjahan was damaged beyond repair, the Indian Naval attack was an ultimate victory in the naval history of India, with no damage to Indian Navy's attacking squadron.

On 8 December 1971, the Hangor, a Daphné class submarine of Navy, sank the Indian frigate INS Khukri off the coast of Gujarat, India. This was the first sinking of a warship by a submarine since World War II that resulted in the loss of 18 officers and 176 sailors of the Indian navy. The same submarine also severely damaged another warship, INS Kirpan.[14] Attempts were then made by Pakistan to counter the Indian missile boat threat by carrying out bombing raids over Okha harbour, the forward base of the missile boats. The Indian Navy retaliates when commencing another Indian Navy attack on the Pakistan's coast, named Operation Python, occurred on the night of 8 December 1971. A small group of Indian vessels, consisting of a missile boat and two frigates, approached Karachi. The Indian ships sank the Panamian vessel Gulf Star, while the Pakistan Navy's PNS Dacca and the British ship SS Harmattan were damaged. Python was a complete success for the Indian Navy, a psychological trauma for Pakistan Navy, the human and material cost for Pakistan Navy was extremely high.[15] The civilian pilots from PIA volunteered to serve in the surveillance missions with the PAF after the PAF launched the seaborne operation after the Indian naval attack but due to miscommunication and panic attack, the civilians abroad on Fokker Friendship raised a false alarmed which reported a Pakistan Navy frigate, PNS Zulfikar as a missile boat by Indian Navy.[15] The PAF accidentally attacked the PNS Zulfikar, the only naval destroyer, before the PAF recognised that it had laid attack on its own ship.[15] The friendly attack resulted the further loss of navy personnel as well as the loss of the destroyer that was damage severely, after this attack, the Pakistan Navy's operational capabilities were extinct and demoralised.[15] The Indian Navy observes furthered noted that the "PAF pilots failed to recognize the difference between a large PNS Zulfikar frigate and small Osa missile boat.".[15] After the friendly attack, all naval operations, except the submarines efforts, came to halt under the effect orders of chief of naval staff.[15]

The Navy only long range submarine, Ghazi, was deployed to the area but, according to neutral sources, it sank en route under mysterious circumstances.[16] Pakistani authorities state that it sank either due to internal explosion or detonation of mines which it was laying at the time.[17] The Indian Navy claims to have sank the submarine.[18][19][20][21] The submarine's destruction enabled the Indian Navy to enforce a blockade on then East Pakistan.[22] According to the defence magazine, Pakistan Defence Journal, the attack on Karachi, Dhaka, Chittagong and the loss of Ghazi, the Navy no longer was able to match the threat of Indian Navy as it was already outclassed by the Indian Navy after the 1965 war.[citation needed]

The damage inflicted by the Indian Navy and Indian Air Force on the PN stood at seven gunboats, one minesweeper, two destroyers, three patrol crafts belonging to the Pakistan Coast Guard, 18 cargo, supply and communication vessels, and large-scale damage inflicted on the naval base and docks in the coastal town of Karachi. Three merchant navy ships; Anwar Baksh, Pasni and Madhumathi;[23] and ten smaller vessels were captured.[24] Around 1900 personnel were lost, while 1413 servicemen were captured by Indian forces in Dhaka.[25] The Indian Navy lost 18 officers and 176 sailors[14][26] and a frigate, while another frigate was damaged and a Breguet Alizé naval aircraft was shot down by the Pakistan Air Force. According to one Pakistan scholar, Tariq Ali, the Pakistan Navy lost a third of its force in the war.[27] Despite the limited resources and manpower, the Navy performed its task diligently by providing support to inter-services (air force and army) until the end.[28] The primary reason for this loss has been attributed to the central command's failure in defining a role for the Navy, or the military in general, in East Pakistan.[citation needed] Since then the Navy has sought to improve the structure and fleet by putting special emphasis on sub-surface warfare capability as it allows for the most efficient way to deny the control of Pakistani sea lanes to an adversary.[citation needed]

Cold war operations[]

Pakistan fully endorse the requirements of a strong navy, capable of safeguarding Pakistan's sea frontiers and her Lines of Communication, monitoring and protecting her exclusive economic zone. Continuous efforts are at hand to provide the best available equipment to the Navy despite all economic constraints.

After the 1971 war, the Navy had to be re-organized, re-visioned, and re-established after being destroyed its facilities, manpower, and operational basis during the war by the Indian Navy.[28] The coming Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Sharif reconstituted the Navy and gave commissioned to Naval Air Arm of the Navy.[28] During the course of war, the co-ordination between Inter-services was limited, lack of communication, poor execution of joint-operations, this led to the establishment of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.[28] In a small span of time, the navy facilities, manpower and profile of Navy was quickly arranged and raised by Admiral Muhammad Sharif, and his services to Navy led him to be appointed as first navy admiral Chairman of Joint Chiefs Committee of Pakistan Armed Forces.[28]

The Pakistan Navy came into public notice in 1974 after it had reportedly applied a naval blockage and played an integral role to stop the arm smuggled in Balochistan conflict.[28] After the discovery of Arms in the Iraqi Embassy in Pakistan, the Navy made an effort to apply a naval blockade to prevent arms smuggling in the Province. Later, the navy provided logistic support to the Army and the Air Force in the conflict.[28]

The Daphne class submarine Ghazi (S-134) deployed during the Operation Restore Hope.

From her inception, the Navy sought to diversify its purchases instead of depending solely on the United States, which had placed an arms embargo on both India and Pakistan.[30] After 1971, the Navy sought more combatant vessels from friendly countries notably, France and China.[30] Thus, its extreme modernization programme led the Pakistan Navy to become the first navy in South Asia to acquire land-based ballistics missile capable long range reconnaissance aircraft.[30] During the 1980s, the Pakistan Navy enjoyed unprecedented growth, doubling its surface fleet from 8 to 16 surface combatants in 1989. In 1982, the Reagan administration approved US$3.2 billion military and economic aid to Pakistan. Pakistan acquired eight Brooke and Garcia-class frigates from United States Navy on a five-year lease in 1988. A depot for repairs, USS Hector followed the lease of these ships in April 1989. However after the Soviet troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 US President George Bush was advised to no longer certify that Pakistan was not involved in the development of nuclear weapons and the Pressler amendment was invoked on 1 October 1990. The lease of the first Brooke class frigate expired in March 1993, the remaining in early 1994. This seriously impaired the Pakistan Navy, which was composed almost entirely of former US origin ships. Realizing the US U-turn policy, Pakistan began to concentrate on self-reliance for its military equipment needs. Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto successfully negotiated and signed an agreement with France to sell the Agosta class submarine for Pakistan Navy, including the technology transfer of Air-independent propulsion to Pakistan. This agreement was reportedly highly controversial but it had tripled the war capabilities of Pakistan Navy, despite Indian protests that were lodged internationally. The United Kingdom approved the sale of Westland Lynx and Sea King helicopters, equipped with ASW missiles which further enhanced the capabilities of Pakistan Navy.

After the success of atomic project in 1978, several proposals were called and made for Pakistan Navy to transformed into a nuclear navy. In 1990, the Navy began the peaceful negotiations with People's Liberation Army Navy to lease a nuclear submarine, a Chinese Type 091 Han class submarine after rival India Navy began leasing a Russian based Charlie 1 class nuclear from Soviet Union.[31] However, the Navy cancelled the negotiations with the Chinese Navy after the learning the Indian Navy had returned the Russian submarine was returned in 1991.[31] In 1991, the Navy became involved with Operation Restore Hope after learning the death of personnels of Pakistan Army in Somalia. The Navy dispatched one submarine and two destroyer frigates to support the US Navy's operations in Somalia. The Navy also took participation in Operation United Shield in 1995 with the United States, dispatching two destroyers to support the US Navy's operation and concluded its side of operation after evacuating personnel and equipments of army and air force.

During the Kargil War episode, the Pakistan Navy was deactivated along with the Pakistan Air Force, according to Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Fasih Bokhari. However, when Indian Navy launched Operation Talwar, Pakistan Navy responded by deploying the submarines and destroyers combatant ships to keep Indian Navy from Ports of Karachi and Baluchistan.[29] The Naval Air Arm maintained its reconnaissance and patrol operations near at the Arabian sea. In 1999, another proposal was raised to switched the Air-independent propulsion of Agosta submarine to substitute with Nuclear propulsion, however the proposal was dismissed.[29] During the 2001–2002 India-Pakistan Standoff, the Pakistan Navy was a put on high-alert and more than a dozen warships were deployed near at the Arabian Sea. In 2001, the Navy took consideration of deploying the nuclear weapons on its submarines although none of the nuclear weapons were ever deployed in the submarines.[31]

Indo-Pakistani war of 1999[]

Although the Navy restricted from participating in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1999 (or the Kargil war), it came under much pressure to protect the civilian and military bases in Pakistan while performing non-combat missions in the coastal areas. The rapid Indian Navy's movement pushed the Navy to take active measures and responded by deploying the large formation of submarines to gather the intelligence movement on Indian naval activities and presence, however the Navy did not make any military engagement with the Indian Navy. In the post Indo-Pakistani war of 1999, the Navy became involved in a military engagement with the Indian Air Force when the local Pakistan media reported that the Navy had suffered serious casualty in non-combat missions in terms of losing aircraft and personnel, roughly occurred just two weeks since the end of Indo-Pakistani War of 1999 in Northern Pakistan. On 10 August 1999, the Indian Air Force's two MiG 21FL fired and shot down the reconnaissance navy plane, the Atlantic, with sixteen personnel, including four naval fighter pilots on board. All hands and the aircraft were lost when it was shot down in the border area of the Rann of Kutch region by Indian Air Force, with both countries claiming the aircraft to be in their respective airspace.

A Pakistan Navy P3C Orion getting airborne.

The international observers noted that the wreckage fell well within Pakistan's territory, giving credence to the Pakistan's claim. But the investigation conducted by the Naval Intelligence revealed that the crash site was spread over 2 km on both sides of the border and the majority of the wreckage was on the Indian side. The Indian government released the bodies of all the 16 personnel killed in the crash, asserting their point that the aircraft crashed in India.[citation needed] The Indian Air Force stated that "the Atlantique was trying to return to Pakistan's airspace after intruding more than 10 nautical miles (19 km) and as such was headed towards Pakistan....". This incident resulted in escalated tensions between the two neighbouring countries.[32]

In October 1999, another mishap claimed the loss of Navy's ASW aircraft crashed while on routine exercise towards the coastal town of Pasni in Baluchistan Province.[33] In this non-combat mission, the casualties stood with twenty one personnel, including two navy fighter pilots, eleven sailors and ten senior officers died in the incident. The incident was marked as a technical failure. The P3C Orion was originally developed for the US by Lockheed Martin.[34]

Naval Strategic Force Command[]

In August 2012, the Pakistan Navy inaugurated the Naval Strategic Force Command headquarters, described by the military as the custodian of the country's nuclear second strike capability.[35]

Multi-national operations[]

Between 11–21 May 2008, Pakistani warships PNS Badr (D-182), PNS Shahjahan (D 186), and PNS Nasr (A-47), as well as the Pakistan Air Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, participated in Exercise Inspired Union, an multi-national exercises in the North Arabian Sea that also included the American destroyers Curts and Ross.[36]

Tsunami relief activities[]

The Navy has been involved in some peacetime operations, most notably during the tsunami tragedy that struck on 26 December 2004. Pakistan sent her combatant vessels to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and the Maldives to help in rescue and relief work.[37]

Pakistan Navy dispatched its two combatant vessels, PNS Tariq, a destroyer, PNS Nasr, a Logistic support ship, were deployed in the region. Under the tactical direction of former Chief of Naval Staff Admiral (retired) Shahid Karimullah, Pakistan Navy ships immediately rendered their assistance to Government of Maldives for evacuation of stranded tourists/locals from islands. Pakistan Navy continued this humanitarian assistance through rendering diplomatic and material support by sending two more ships with sizeable relief efforts to Indonesia and Sri Lanka.[38] Pakistan Navy later assigned another relief mission to Sri Lanka dispatching two more combatant vessels. PNS Khaiber and PNS Moawin were dispatched to assist Sri Lanka.[39] These vessels had three helicopters, a 140th Marine Expeditionary Force, military and civilian doctors, and paramedics. Besides, relief goods – medicines, medical equipment, food supplies, tents, blankets- are being sent in huge quantities.[40] The diameter of relief operations were expanded to Bangladesh. And, Pakistan Naval vessels, carrying other Pakistan Armed Forces units, landed in Bangladesh for the first time since December 1971. The Navy, Army, and the Air Force had carried out the relief operations in the Bangladesh, where the Pakistani forces also anticipated reconstruction of civil infrastructure in the country.[41]

Operation Madad[]

As Army and PAF gaining momentum on militancy, the Navy took the whole responsibility of conducting the largest search and rescue operations in the 2010 floods. The Navy rescued and evacuated more than 352,291 people after launching the Operation Madad (English: "Help") throughout Pakistan on August 2010.[42] Since then, the Navy had provided 43,850 kg of food and relief goods to flood victims; 5,700 kg of ready-to-cook food, 1,000 kg of dates and 5,000 kg of food has been dispatched to Sukkur. The Pakistan Naval Air Arm had air dropped more than 500 kg of food and relief good in Thal, Ghospur and Mirpur areas.[43] As of January 2014, under the program PN Model Village, the Navy is building the model houses in the affected areas. More than 87 houses were built and had been distributed to the local IDPs. About 69,011 people have been treated in PN medical camps.[44]

War in North-West[]

The Navy has been active as early as 2006–07 to track down the terrorist elements and al-Qaeda operatives around the country as part of the campaign against the terrorism. To limit the pressure on army and air force, the Navy executed far more difficult operations in Northern Pakistan, and its combatant assets fought Taliban insurgency in Western border with the ground forces. On 22 May 2011, the Navy's first engagement with Pakistani Taliban took place in PNS Mehran, the headquarter of the Navy's Naval Air Arm and the most populous Pakistani military installation, located near the PAF's Faisal Air Force Base of Karachi, Sindh. In the course of the event, around 15 attackers killed 18 naval personnel and wounded 16 in a sophisticated terrorist attack. According to the United States and Western intelligence sources, the attack was far more dangerous than the 2009 Pakistan Army General Headquarters attack, and was better planned and more rehearsed than the previous attacks. It was the biggest attack on the Navy and its assets since 1971, and is believed to be the last major attack of militant mastermind Ilyas Kashmiri before being killed in the drone strike. The Special Service Group Navy (SSG(N)), carried out the counter-attack, which was the largest operation led by SSG(N) since Operation Jackpot of 1971.


Pakistan Navy Officers on Guard By the Standard of the Navy and the Naval Jack

Then, Commodore, Khan Hasham Bin Saddique of Pakistan Navy, left, hands a spyglass to French navy Rear Adm. Jean L. Kerignard during a change of command ceremony aboard PNS Tippu Sultan (D 186) while in port at Mina Salman Pier, Bahrain, 25 February 2008.

As of 2015, the Pakistan Navy has approximately 25,000 active duty personnel.[45] With additional 1,200 Marines and more than 2,500 Coast Guard; 2,000 active-duty Navy personnel in the Maritime Security Agency. In addition there were 5,000 reserves, total combing forces exceeding 35,700 personnel.[citation needed]

In 2006, the Navy inducted 22 female sailors for combat positions apart from the existing administrative posts, becoming one of the few countries (as well as few Muslim countries) to do so.[46][47] In 2007, Navy gave commissioned to the first Baloch naval squadron, consisting of around 53 women officers and 72 Baloch sailors.[48] In 2012, the Navy pushed its personnel strength to Baluchistan after sending a large formation of Baloch university students to Navy Engineering Colleges and War College as well as staff schools to complete their officer training requirements.[49] The Navy established three additional facilities in Balochistan to supervise the training to its personnel.[49]

Naval Headquarters[]

  • Admiral Muhammad Asif Sandila, NI(M) — Chief of Naval Staff (CNS)
  • Vice Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah, HI(M) — Vice Chief of Naval Staff (VCNS)
  • Vice Admiral Shafqat Jawed, HI(M) — Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, Admin (DCNS Admin)
  • Vice Admiral Sayyid Khawar Ali, HI(M) — Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, Training (DCNS T)
  • Rear Admiral Imdad Imam Jafferi SI(M)— Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, Material (DCNS M)
  • Rear Admiral Kaleem Shakuat, SI(M), SBt — Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, Operations (DCNS O)
  • Rear Admiral Iftikhar Ahmed Qureshi, SI(M) — Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, Supply (DCNS S)
  • Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar, SI(M) — Director General Naval Intelligence (DG NI)
  • Rear Admiral Shahid Saeed, HI(M)— Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, Projects (DCNS Projects)
  • Rear Admiral Mukhtar Khan Jadoon, SI(M) — Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, Personnel (DCNS P)
  • Rear Admiral Muhammad Fayyaz Gilani, SI(M) — Naval Secretary (NS)


  • Vice Admiral Khawaja Ghazanfar Hussain, HI(M) — Commander Karachi (COMKAR), Karachi
  • Vice Admiral Khan Hasham Bin Saddique, HI(M) — Commander Pakistan Fleet (COMPAK), Karachi
  • Rear Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, HI(M) — Commander Logistics (COMLOG), Karachi
  • Rear Admiral Syed Arifullah Hussaini, HI(M), TBt — Commander Coastal Areas (COMCOAST), Karachi
  • Rear Admiral Abdul Aleem, SI(M) — Commandant, Pakistan Navy War College (Comdt PNWC), Lahore
  • — Commandant, Pakistan Navy Engineering College (Comdt PNEC), Karachi
  • Rear Admiral Shah Sohail Masood, SI(M) — Commander, Naval Strategic Forces Command, Islamabad
  • Rear Admiral Syed Bashir Ahmed, SI(M) — Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST), Karachi
  • Rear Admiral Shahid Azmat Wain, SI(M) — Commander North (COMNOR), Islamabad
  • Commodore Naghman Chaudhry, SI(M) — Commander West (COMWEST), Gawadar
  • Commodore Zahid Ilyas, SI(M) — Commadant Pakistan Naval Academy PNS Rehbar, Karachi
  • Commodore Amjad Ali Niazi, SI(M) — Commadant PNS Bahadur, Karachi
  • Commodore Saeed Ahmed Khan, SI(M) — Commadant PNS Karsaz, Karachi

External billets[]

  • Rear Admiral Adnan Nazir, HI(M) — DG Training and Joint Warfare (DG Trg) at Joint Staff HQ (JSHQ), Chaklala
  • Rear Admiral Nasir Mahmood, SI(M) — DG Maritime Technologies Complex (DG MTC), Islamabad
  • Rear Admiral Imtiaz Ahmad, SI(M) — DG Munitions Production (DG MP) at Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP), Rawalpindi
  • Rear Admiral Syed Hasan Nasir Shah, SI(M) — Managing Director, Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (MD KSEW), Karachi
  • Rear Admiral Farrokh Ahmad, SI(M) — Additional Secretary-III (Navy) at Ministry of Defence (MoD), Rawalpindi
  • Rear Admiral Ather Mukhtar, SI(M) – Director General Maritime Security Agency (DG MSA), Karachi

List of Past Chiefs of Naval Staff[]

FM-90 on board PNS Zulfiqar

Pakistan Naval Air Arm Alouette III on board PNS Tippu Sultan at Portsmouth in 2005

Two 4-cell C-802 anti-ship missile launchers on board PNS Zulfiqar

The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), a four-star Admiral, is a most senior and high-ranking member officer of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee as well as the National Security Council (NSC) and the Nuclear Command Authority, and is responsible for the sea defence of the country.[citation needed]

  1. Rear Admiral James Wilfred Jefford (15 August 1947 – 30 January 1953)[50]
  2. Vice Admiral Haji Mohammad Siddiq Choudri (31 January 1953 – 28 February 1959)[50]
  3. Vice Admiral Afzal Rahman Khan (1 March 1959 – 20 October 1966)[50]
  4. Vice Admiral Syed Mohammad Ahsan (20 October 1966 – 31 August 1969)[50]
  5. Vice Admiral Muzaffar Hassan (1 September 1969 – 22 December 1971)[50]
  6. Vice Admiral Hasan Hafeez Ahmed (3 March 1972 – 9 March 1975)[50]
  7. Admiral Mohammad Shariff (23 March 1975 – 21 March 1979)[50]
  8. Admiral Karamat Rahman Niazi (22 March 1979 – 23 March 1983)[50]
  9. Admiral Tariq Kamal Khan (23 March 1983 – 9 April 1986)[50]
  10. Admiral Iftikhar Ahmed Sirohey (9 April 1986 – 9 November 1988)[50]
  11. Admiral Yastur-ul-Haq Malik (10 November 1988 – 8 November 1991)[50]
  12. Admiral Saeed Mohammad Khan (9 November 1991 – 9 November 1994)[50]
  13. Admiral Mansurul Haq (10 November 1994 – 1 May 1997)[50]
  14. Admiral Fasih Bokhari (2 May 1997 – 2 October 1999)[50]
  15. Admiral Abdul Aziz Mirza (2 October 1999 – 2 October 2002)[50]
  16. Admiral Shahid Karimullah (3 October 2002 – 6 October 2005)
  17. Admiral Afzal Tahir (7 October 2005 – 7 October 2008)
  18. Admiral Noman Bashir (7 October 2008 – 7 October 2011)
  19. Admiral Muhammad Asif Sandila (7 October 2011 – present)

Command Structure[]

According to the Constitution, the President of Pakistan is the civilian commander-in-chief of Pakistan Armed Forces while the Prime Minister of Pakistan served as the chief executive of Pakistan Armed Forces, both the people-elected civilians, the President and Prime minister, maintains a civilian control of the military. The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), a four-star admiral, is the highest admiral (unless the four-star admiral is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee), a field, operational and staff commander as well as the highest admiral in the Navy, directs the non-combat and combatant operations from naval combatant headquarters (NHQ) in Islamabad, near army combatant headquarters (GHQ). The Chief of Naval Staff has seven Deputy Chiefs of Naval Staff, ranging from Rear Admirals to Vice-Admirals; the Chief of Staff (COS) under whom the Naval Operations and Intelligence Directorates functions; the Naval Secretary (NS); the Quarter-Master General (QMG); the Hydrographer of the Navy (HPN); the Engineer-in-Chief; the Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST); the Director-General of Training and Joint Warfare (DG Trig); the Directorate-General for Naval Technologies Complex (NTC); and the Chief of Naval Logistics (CNL). The responsibilities of Deputy Chief of Naval Staff are listed below:[citation needed]

  • Deputy Chief of Naval Staff of Naval Operations (DCNS Operations)
  • Deputy Chief of Naval Staff of Training and Personnel (DCNS Training and Personnel)
  • Deputy Chief of Naval Staff of Materials (DCNS Materials)
  • Deputy Chief of Naval Staff of Naval Supplies (DCNS Supply)
  • Deputy Chief of Naval Staff of Projects (DCNS Projects)
  • Deputy Chief of Naval Staff of Naval Strategic Forces Command
  • Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (Administration)

The Pakistan Navy has six major combatant commands, each command is commanded by a three-star rank Vice Admiral who directly reports to Chief of Naval Staff, a four-star Admiral. Pakistan Naval Combatant Headquarter, The NHQ, is located in Islamabad, at the neighbourhood of the GHQ of Pakistan Army. The NHQ function also includes the Judge Advocate General Corps of Navy, and the Comptroller of Civilian Personnel, the Hydrographer of the Navy (HPN) of the Hydrographic Corps; the Engineer-in-Chief of Naval Engineering Corps (NEC):

  • Commander Karachi (COMKAR) – The Commander Karachi is responsible for the command of the shore establishment, naval facilities within Karachi. The COMKAR also provide services and training facilities for the Navy. The COMKAR also looks after the military protocol at Karachi. This command's responsibilities also include harbour defence.
    • Commander of Pakistan Naval Fleet (COMPAK) – The command heads the surface, sub surface and aviation commands. In fact, this command is the war fighting machine having 4 dimensional components. It headquartered in Karachi, Sindh. Previously, it included the 25th and 18th Destroyer Squadron (with Gearing class D16O, D164-168).
    • Commander COAST (COMCOAST) – The special command of SSG(N), Marines and Coastal stations.
    • Commander Logistics (COMLOG) – This command looks after the repair, maintenance and logistic infrastructure of PN.
    • Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) Conducts all types of operational training at Sea
    • Commander North (COMNOR) – Looks after the Naval installations in the north of Pakistan. The COMNOR commands the naval facilities in North-west Pakistan, Azad Kashmir, and Northern Areas of Pakistan. The COMNOR is also a major part of Pakistan's Northern Naval Command.
    • Commander WEST (COMWEST ) – Looks after the Naval installations in the west of Pakistan. The naval bases are Ormara, Pasni, Gwadar and Jiwani. The COMWEST is a major component of the Western Naval Command of Pakistan Navy.
    • Commander Naval Air Arm (COMNAV) – Looks after the Naval air stations, and is the commander of the Naval Aviation.

Commissioned officers rank[]

Structure of the Commissioned officer rank of the Pakistan Navy
Pay grade O-10 O-9 O-8 O-7 O-6 O-5 O-4 O-3 O-2 O-1

US-O10 insignia.svg
US-O9 insignia.svg
US-O8 insignia.svg

US-O7 insignia.svg
75px 70px 70px 70px
Title Admiral Vice-Admiral Rear-Admiral Commodore Captain Commander Lieutenant-Commander Lieutenant Sub-Lieutenant Midshipman
Abbreviation Adm VAdm RAdm Cdre Capt Cdr LCdr Lt SLt Mdshp
NATO Code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1
Rank Hierarchy 4-star Admiral 3-star Admiral 2-star Admiral 1-star Officer
Structure of the Enlisted rank of the Pakistan Navy
Pay grade OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1 OR-1
Title Master Chief Petty Officer Fleet Chief Petty Officer Chief Petty Officer Petty Officer No equivalent Leading Rate No equivalent Able Seaman Tech-I Ordinary Rate Tech-II No equivalent
NATO Code OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1 OR-1

Academic institutions[]

A Pakistani Mirage V and a F-16D Block 52+. The Mirage V belongs to PAF inventory and are operated by PAF pilots, but some Navy pilots operate these too after completing a fighter pilot course at the PAF Combat Commanders School.

The Pakistan Navy maintains large educational organisations, accredited institutions and scientific organisations to support the combatant and non-combatant missions, operations and shores activities on land. Its academic and accredited four-year university, the Pakistan Naval Academy, is the home of naval cadets for the future officers of Pakistan Navy, and offers academic degrees programmes at its academy. The Pakistan Naval Academy also has provided education, athletic programs and military training programmes to the officers of allied navies, among notables including the Chief of Staff of the Qatar Royal Navy (QRN) and many high-ranking officers of Royal Saudi Navy (RSN) as well as other navies in the Gulf were graduates of the Pakistan Naval Academy. The academy is a full fledged academic and scientific institution catering to the needs to Pakistan junior naval officers.

The Pakistan Navy also managed, administers, and managed the various academic research universities in the country, including the Naval Educational Establishment (NEE). The Naval War College is a post-graduate and post-doctorate college that specialises in the techniques and developing ideas for naval warfare and passing them along to officers of the Navy.[51] Other college includes the College of Logistics and Management (conducts research in military logistics); and Strategic Institute for Naval Affairs which conducts research on specialising in imparting Naval Warfare techniques to officers of the Pakistan naval forces.

The senior training institution for all service branches is the National Defence University (NDU) at the Islamabad. Originally established in 1971 at Rawalpindi, the university is mandate to provide training in higher military strategy for senior officers, the institution was relocated to Islamabad in 1995. It also offers courses that allow civilians to explore the broader aspects of national security, defence policy and war studies. In a program begun in the 1980s to upgrade the intellectual standards of the army, air force, marines and naval officers and increase awareness of the wider world, a large group of officers, has been detailed to academic training, achieving master's degrees and even doctorates at universities in Pakistan and abroad.

Science and Technology[]

Apart from executing military operations, the Navy also maintains its own science and technology organisations and commands to promote scientific activities, knowledge, and engineering facilities in the navy. The Navy operates the Naval Directorate for Hydrography, served as the operational scientific naval oceanographic program for the Navy. The Navy also administer and operates the astronomical observatory known as Pakistan Naval Observatory, with primary mission to produce Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) for the Navy and the Ministry of Defence (MoD), though the Navy has also played a vital role in nation's civilian space authority, the Space Research Commission in conducting studies on Astrophysics, Astronomy and Mathematics. The Naval Strategic Forces Command served as the primary scientific and military organisation for the Navy, the command is charged with battling with naval-based nuclear weapons and controlling the operations of nuclear submarines.


A campus of Navy Engineering College (PNEC) in Karachi.

The other educational facilities training institutions are included the PNS Bahadur, that conducts weapon system specialist courses; the PNS Himalaya, for providing the combat surface training courses for the NCO, JCO, and recruited sailors while the Higher Educational Training (HET) is a way to be commissioned officer from sailors.

The PNS Karsaz is the largest and most organised technical and naval combat training establishment of the Navy. The Karsaz has the privilege to host many heads of states since its commissioning. Karsaz served as a mother unit who gave birth to Naval Air Station Mehran, the Navy Engineering College, PNS Bahadur, and other Navy units and naval bases in that area. The unit celebrated its golden jubilee in 2003 under the command of Commodore M.Bashir. Chaudhry. The PNS Karsaz also houses one of the most modern Special Children School which was built at the cost of Rs. 88.00 Millions during 2003–05. Cdre M. Bashir Chaudhry who was the commandant Karsaz during this period was the force behind this project who collected the funds through philanthropists,got the school designed through NESPAK and finally constructed & put it into operation. The Rangoon Vala Trust (RVT) contributed the most in the funding of this school and other Navy sponsored programmes.

The Navy Engineering College is one of the most recognised institute of the Navy and offers under-graduate, post-graduate, and doctoral programmes in engineering, science and technology desciplines. The Navy Engineering College is controlled by the Navy but it has been an affiliated with the National University of Sciences and Technology and has become its constituent Pakistan Navy Engineering College, where officers and civilian students are offered degrees in Electrical, Mechanical, Electronics and industrial and manufacturing engineering.

Special Operations Forces[]

Special Services Group (N)[]

Naval SSG conducting a force-protection and under-water special forces training with their USN counterpart, the US Navy SEALs.

The Special Service Group Navy (reporting name: SSG-[N]) are the principle and elite special operations force (SOF), part of the Naval Strategic Forces Command. The unit was established by then-CNS Admiral S. M. Ahsan under the advise and guidance of United States Navy SEALs, in 1966. The SSG-N's first combat operation took place in 1971 war and its operational diameter has increased since then. The SSG-N courses are extremely tough, one of the toughest courses offered by the Pakistan Military and in the world. The SSG-N are trained together first with the elite special forces of the army and the air force, then the special airborne, seaborne, and water-diving courses are taught and trained by the instructors to the recruiters of the veteran Navy commandos and elite operatives. The SSG-[N] are often sent to the United States to complete final course with the US Navy SEALs in Colorado and California. Due to its interminable nature, the SSG-[N] are a classified and clandestine unit and their history of operations are never made available to the public domain. Although the official strength remains classified, estimated strength is thought to be between 1000 to 1240 in three regiments.

Relationships with other service of branches[]


The Navy established Pakistan Marines sometimes in 1 June 1971, by Admiral S.M. Ahsan, but it was decommissioned from its services in 1974 due to its poor production of performance. However, after Navy first re-organized, re-established, and re-visioned itself, the proposals of establishing the Marines roughly equivalent to United States Marines Corps were kept under consideration.[52] Finally on 14 April 1990, the Pakistan Marines were again re-commissioned in the Navy with about 2,000 men who were drafted[53] and plans to expand the force to the size of the Corps approximately 45,000, significantly by 2015. The Marines are under the control of Pakistan Navy, using the same military ranks. The Marines are currently headquartered at Qasim Marine Base in Karachi.[52]

Pakistan Marines dressed in operational camouflage uniforms with their US counterparts.

The first Officer Commanding of Pakistan Marines was an OF-4 rank officer, Commander M. Obaidullah.[52] On 14 April 1990, a training marine base was given commissioned to provide security cover to Naval assets. The Navy decided to establish the Marines at Kasim Fort which was at that time under the operational control of PNS Himalaya. Finally on 25 November 1990, the PNS Kasim was given commissioned and became the marines combatant headquarters, initially compromising the eight naval officers, 67 Chief petty officer and petty officer, and 43 Marines officers.[52] The Marines specialised in seaborne operations, using the mobility of the Navy, although it is the part of the Navy, not a separate branch. The Marines wears the camouflage uniforms when deployed to an operational environment but otherwise they wear Navy dress uniforms.[52] The size of the Marines were tripled by the Admiral Shahid Karimullah who pursued the case of an additional battalion and its phase wise development plan. Since its inception, the Marines are deployed in the Sir Creek region of Indo-Pakistan borders.[52]

Coast Guard[]

Pakistan Navy conducting MIO exercise with the United States Navy and the US Marines.

The Navy also maintains a paramilitary division which prevents federal navy personnel from acting in a law enforcement capacity. The Maritime Security Agency (MSA) fulfills the law enforcement role in the naval operations, initially the MSA has capacity to conduct search and rescue operations in deep waters of Pakistan.[54] The MSA was established after adopting the genesis at the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982.[54] Pakistan ratifies the UN Convention in 1997 but established the MSA on 1 January 1987, for enforcement of national and international laws, policies and conventions at sea.[54]

A unit of Pakistan Navy marching in Karachi.

The MSA gained its constitutional status in 1994 by the Parliament and is now placed under the command of the Navy, consisting an officer commanding at the two-star rank, a Rear-Admiral.

The Pakistan Coast Guard served as the same purpose as of the Navy but the Coast Guards are the separate branch from the Navy.[55] The Coast Guards performs duty on relief efforts in the coastal areas of Pakistan, riverine rescue operations, and distribution of military ration.[55] The Coast Guards do not performs operations in deep naval vicinity, rather the operations are performed by the MSA.[55] However, the Coast Guards do use the mobility of Pakistan Navy depending on their type of the operations and the Coast Guards are placed under the command of Pakistan Army and contains active-duty army members, and is currently commanded by a two-star rank Major-General.[55]

Branches of Pakistan Navy[]

  • Operation Branch

Communication Technician Missile Gun Technician Under Water Technician

  • Marine Engineering Branch
  • Weapon Engineering Branch
  • Medical Branch
  • Aviation Branch
  • Supply Branch
  • Special Branch (IT)

Naval Fleet[]

PNS Zulfiqar

PNS Alamgir

PNS Tippu Sultan

PNS Larkana Class Missile Boat

PNS Badr with USS Tarawa (LHA-1)


The names of commissioned combat and non-combat ships of the Pakistan Navy are prefixed with the capital letters "PNS" ("Pakistan Naval Ships"). The names of ships are selected by the Ministry of Defence, often to honour important people or places in the history of Pakistan. Currently, the offensive surface fleet of the Navy comprises 11 combat ships, including six former Royal Navy Amazon class frigates. The Navy intends to decommission the ships from their active service between 2010 and 2020. In 2005, Navy ordered four F-22P light frigates from China in a deal worth $750 million.[56] The first has been commissioned and the remainder by 2013.[56] This was the semi-nationalized programme that was built under the supervision of People's Republic of China. The first frigate was built in Karachi Shipyard and its first lead ship was delivered on 5 April 2008. The F-22P Programme has successfully ended when the F-254 PNS Aslat was delivered on July 2011. All four frigate have the ability to embark Harbin Z-9 helicopters on deck.[56] The F-22P is an improved version of the Type 053H3 Jiangwei II class light frigate, it has a displacement of at least 2500 tons.[56]

The guided-missile frigate, PNS Alamgir, being handed over to Pakistan Navy, 2010.

According to Janes, the Pakistan Navy is expected to place a formal request to the US for six Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates to augment its surface fleet. These may replace the Type-21s and act as stop-gaps until new-built frigates and corvettes are commissioned. However, in 2010, only one, USS McInerney—a guided missile frigate, was transferred to the Navy.

The weapons systems on the Navy's FFG-8 have not yet been disclosed, but they could include the Mk 41 Vertical Launch System for the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) as well as Mk 32 torpedo tubes for Mk 46 Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) torpedoes. The frigate USS McInerney (FFG-8) with considerable anti-submarine warfare capability was handed over on 31 August 2010. The ship has been named PNS Alamgir (FFG-260) after the great Mughal Emperor Alamgir. The ship was transferred to Pakistan at Mayport, Florida. According to Janes', at the military convention, the IDEAS 2004, former chief of naval staff Admiral Shahid Karimullah commented that "least four additional new-built frigates will be acquired by the navy". As of 2011, the three of the four frigate are larger and superior to the first F-22P. The frigates are likely have a better air defence system and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability; and use more advanced sensors, radar and electronics.Pakistan Navy is also reported to have been interested in Turkish TF-2000 class frigates.

Corvettes & missile boats[]

The Pakistan Navy operates two Jalalat II class and two Jurrat class missile boats each armed with four Chinese C-802 anti-ship missiles. The Jalalat II Class were locally produced using a German design, and the Jurrat class, which was also locally produced, is considered as an improved version of the Jalalat II class, with better sensors and propulsion.

In November 2006 the Pakistan Navy ordered two MRTP-33 and two MRTP-15 missile boats from Yonca-Onuk shipyards of Turkey.[57] both have been delivered. The Navy has an overall requirement of eight MRTP-33s.

Pakistan Navy has also ordered two fast attack craft/missile boats, the 500–600 tons Azmat class, equipped with C802/803 anti ship missiles from China in December 2010. The first boat P1013 PNS Azmat was handed over to Pakistan Navy on 23 April 2012 and 2nd (PNS Dahshat) on 16 August 2012. These are the largest class of missile boats inducted in the Pakistan Navy as of 2012. Pakistan Navy is also, negotiating Milgem class corvettes with Turkey.


The programme of (submarine technology transfer) Agosta class submarine, envisages a very high degree of transfer-of-technology, which is bound to benefit the local industry in improving our indigenous capability of building air-independent propulsion, which is a viable substitute of nuclear propulsion....

Rear Admiral Gulzaman Malik, Commander of Submarine Service Force, 1999, [29]

The Submarines Service Force (SSF) is the major command and aggressive command of Pakistan Navy, with primary mission including the commencing of peaceful engagement, surveillance and intelligence management, special operations, precision strikes, battle group operations, and the control of Pakistan's border seas. The Submarine command also takes responsibility to protect country's sea lanes of communication as well as to protect the economical interests, foreign trade and development of the country.[58][59]

An Agosta 90B Submarine in operation.

In mid-2006, the Navy announced its requirement of three new fast-attack submarines to replace the two Agosta-70 submarines and rebuild its submarine fleet— after retiring the four Daphne Class.[58] Immediately, the French defence consortium, the DCN, offered its latest export design— the Marlin class submarine— which is based on the Scorpène class submarine, but also uses technology from the Barracuda nuclear attack submarine.[58] However, the Navy chose the Type 214 submarine, during the "IDEAS 2008 exhibition", the HDW director Walter Freitag told the media that: "The commercial contract has been finalized up to 95%. The first submarine would be delivered to the Pakistan Navy in 64 months after signing of the contract while the rest would be completed successively in 12 months".[60] However in 2009, it was reported that the Navy had cancelled its plans with HDW, the German government adjourn the deal further deliberation leading the Navy to cancel the contract with HDW while the German government seemed not-interested to transfer the submarine technology to Pakistan. However, the German government insisted that "a final decision should be made soon".[58] In 2012, an undisclosed navy officials confirmed to media and news channels that the plan of acquiring German submarines has been scrapped, dismissed as the Navy is no longer interested in the German submarines. Instead, the Navy has stepped into build the nation's first indigenously built nuclear submarine, which will be built by the Navy's PNEC nuclear engineers, assisted by the civilian PAEC's nuclear engineers and scientists.[58]

The X-Craft submarines are charged with carrying out the mine laying, torpedo attacks, frogman operations and commando landing, roughly for special forces operations. Currently there three submarines of this class are operated by the Navy.[citation needed] In 1985, the Italian Navy signed an understanding memorandum with the Navy and assisted the Navy to locally built these midget submarines.[61] The Italian defence contractor, the COSMOS, supervised the first construction of the submarine while other two were built by Pakistan.[61]

All of the Navy's submarines have been equipped with Anti-ship missile (AShM) which can be fired while submerged. The three submarines, the Khalid class, are equipped and capable of firing Exocet missiles, while the older Agosta 70A submarines have been equipped with United States Harpoon missiles. The PNS Hamza submarine has an AIP reactor, containing the MESMA Air Independent Propulsion system, while the PNS Khalid and PNS Saad are recently upgraded with the same MESMA AIP reactor system. The Navy also plans to integrate the Boeing Harpoon Block-II missile on to its Agosta-90B submarines; and currently the Agosta-90Bs are capable of firing Black Shark torpedo, an Italian made naval variant.

Since 2001, the Navy has been seeking to enhance its strategic strike and precision capability by developing naval variants of the Babur land attack cruise missile (LACM).[58] The Babur LACM has a range of 700 km and is capable of using both conventional and nuclear warheads.[58] Future developments of LACM include capability of being launched from submarines, surface combatants and aircraft.[58]

Since 1964, the submarines have been active with Pakistan Navy, and currently five active-duty diesel electric submarines additionally three midget submarines, MG110 are in SSGN command.[62]

Pakistan Naval Air Arm[]

A Pakistan Navy P-3C Orion in 2010

After realising the naval failure in the 1971 war, the Navy sought to developed itself into a modern navy.[63] The Navy took the research on using the aircraft at sea in 1971, after the war. Its aerial fighting unit is known as Naval Air Arm (also known as Naval Aviation) apart from the PAF. The naval fighter pilot course was introduced by the Navy and trained its fighter pilots at the Pakistan Air Force Academy, furthermore the navy pilots later went to Combat Commander's School for fighter jet training. Since 1970s, the naval air arm has became a full fledged and potent service of the Navy. From 1993 to 1994, the Navy stepped in its efforts in sea-airborne operations when PAF donated and inducted five Mirage 5 ROSE fighter jets, later transferred the entire squadron to Navy armed with Exocet missiles.[10] Since then, the Mirage 5 are piloted by the navy fighter pilots after passing the course with PAF Academy and certifying a diploma from a weapons system and combat training school.[10] The Mirage 5 belonged to the PAF as well as operated by the air force, but are piloted by the Navy fighter pilots who are under the command of senior ranking Navy officer.[10] The Westland lynx helicopters have now been removed from active service and a tender has been issued for their removal.[64]

Pakistan Naval Air Arm Pakistan Naval Aviation is an important arm of the Pakistan Navy and assists in the surface and submarine flights to guarantee the safety of Pakistan sea borders.

Currently the PN Aviation Force consists of:

  • 6 Westland Sea King Mk.45 – Anti-submarine/ Anti-Surface Warfare helicopters have been based at Karachi.
  • 8 Aérospatiale SA-319B Alouette III – SAR transport/anti-ship helicopters[65]
  • 7 Lockheed P-3C Orion – Naval surveillance/anti-submarine warfare aircraft/airborne early warning/airborne and bombing missions. Future supply of 7 more under an agreement with Lockheed Martin signed in 2006.[66] Two upgraded P-3C Orion delivered on 7 January 2010 while one was delivered in November 2009. Another two advanced P-3C Orion aircraft to be delivered soon .[67][68]
  • 7 Fokker F27-200 Friendship – Naval surveillance aircraft[69]
  • 4 Hawker 850 – Charged with electronic warfare as well transporting VIP personalities, individuals, or groups.
  • 32+ Dassault Mirage V – Anti-ship attack aircraft flown by Navy fighter pilots which are based at PAF base Masroor in Karachi[69] (the fighter jets are operated by the Pakistan Air Force but piloted by the Navy fighter pilots who served under the command of the senior ranking Navy officer) scheduled to be retired and replaced by JF-17 Thunder(Block II) in 2015 but currently active-duty service with the Navy.
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles include NESCOM Burraq, Satuma Spy, Satuma Informer and the UQAB-II[70] drone.
  • 12 Harbin Z-9EC anti-submarine warfare helicopters equipped with a surface-search radar, low frequency dipping sonar, radar warning receiver, Doppler navigation system and armed with torpedoes.

Pakistan Naval Air Defence[]

In 2010, the Navy established another command after launching an air defence system, using the infrared homing MANPADs system.[citation needed] The new command which is known as Pakistan Naval Air Defence (PNAD) are consisted the members of Pakistan Marines and Navy's ground officers after the first battalion graduated from the Naval School of Weapon System Engineering.[71] In 2010, the command air-launched and tested its first naval air defence system from Sonmiani Terminal— a space center of Space Research Commission (SRC) in the North Arabian Sea.[72] Along with the members of Pakistan Marines, the PNAD members are deployed in all over the country to support the marine operations of Pakistan Navy.

Operations in War on Terror[]

Admiral Bashir meets with the US Army General David Petraeus, top commander of US forces in Afghanistan, to initiate peace initiatives and counter-terrorism operations against Taliban forces in Afghanistan.

Since 1995, the operational scope of Navy has increased, first participating in combat operation, Operation United Shield with the United States Navy. Since 2007, the Navy has shifted into focusing the large-scale special operations and strike operations. The Navy plays an active role in the multinational NAVCENT, CTF-150, CTF-151, Operation Enduring Freedom.[73] The command of the force was give to Pakistan from 24 March 2006, until 25 February 2008. Under Pakistan's leadership, CTF 150 coordinated patrols throughout their area of operations to help commercial shipping and fishing operate safely and freely in the region. Additionally, CTF 150 Coalition ships made 11 successful at-sea rescues and made the largest drug bust in the CTF 150 AOO since 2005.[74] Pakistan has contributed 13 different ships to CTF 150 and the current one being PNS Tariq.[75] Development continues on new warships, weapons, weapons technology, and as well as building the nuclear submarine for its current operational capabilities.[76]

Since 2007, the Navy actively participated in Operation Black Thunderstorm, Operation Rah-e-Nijat, Operation Mehran, Operation Maddad, and is a major participant in War on Terror and the War in tribal areas of Pakistan. Due to its operational capabilities and ability to project force far from coastal areas of Pakistan, for instance the Northern Pakistan and abroad, the Navy remains potent asset for the Commander-in-Chief (the President of Pakistan) as well as the chief executive of the country (the Prime minister of Pakistan).

An elite member of Navy's SSG[N] is silhouetted by the setting sun abroad PNS Babur while under way in the Arabian Sea 25 November 2007.

Despite its seaborne mission, the Navy had played an active role in controlling the insurgency in Tribal Belt in Western Pakistan, mostly taking roles in managing logistics and intelligence gathering as well as conducting ground operations with the army in Western areas to track down the al-Qaeda operatives. In 2011, the major terror bombing took place in Navy's assets in various locations of Karachi by Al-Qaeda; the first of the bombings took place on 21 April 2011 on two naval buses and second bombing incident on 28 April 2011 on a naval coaster. An estimated 12 lives have been lost since the start of the bombing.[77] A third bombing, and final bombing took place on 22 May 2011. The attack was on the PNS Mehran base in Karachi.[78]

Since 2004, the Navy has been readily used in overland counter-insurgency operations, to ease off the pressure to Army and Air Force.[79] The Northern Command (COMNOR) under a rear-admiral, conducted overland, signal, and bombing missions in the Tribal belt while its navy fighter jets pounded the hidden secretive places of militants.[79] The anti-terror, naval-based airborne missions, precision bombing tactics provided by the US Navy, the Navy played a vital role in force-projection of its naval forces on a limited times and tight schedule that played a significant role in controlling the insurgency, terrorism as well as proved the ability to conduct successful operations far from coastal areas won many presidential citations and praised by the government and the international recognition.[79]

See also[]


  1. Pakistan Times | Top Story: Defence Day in Pakistan today; President, PM ask nation to imbibe spirit of ’65 War
  2. Pakistan Navy (18 March 2008). "Pakistan Navy: Roles and Function". Naval Inter-Service Public Relation (Naval ISPR). Pakistan Navy Public and Military Affairs. Retrieved 2011. 
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