Pakistan Navy to buy Z-9D Helicopter for Thugril Class Frigates


For its newly inducted frigate PNS Thugril (Type 054A), Pakistan’s Navy is considering buying Z-9D helicopters from China. The Pakistan Navy has already deployed Z-9CE aboard its Zulfiqar-class frigates (Type-053H3).

The Z-9D is a Chinese ship-based helicopter with the primary mission of anti-ship/anti-submarine warfare, based on the older Z-9C helicopter. In 2012, the helicopter was successfully delivered to the Chinese Navy.

According to statistics, the helicopter is equipped with a new flat-plate slit antenna and an enhanced X-band KLC-3B airborne search radar that can scan up to 180 kilometers for battleship targets weighing 3,000 tonnes or more.

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It can even seize lightweight missile boats and 50-ton speedboats from a distance of more than 60 kilometers. A detachable curved beam mount on the Z-9D helicopter can carry four YJ-9 small anti-ship missiles, as well as light anti-submarine torpedoes and other weaponry.

With 12 passive and 4 active Sonobuoys, the Z-9D has a more sophisticated dipping sonar for increased ASW. The Z-9D naval helicopter has a vast fighting radius, which means enemy missile ships will be forced out of range of their anti-ship missiles.

The CM-501GA anti-ship missile has been chosen by the Pakistan Navy for its Z-9D helicopter. For cruise guidance, the CM-501GA uses TV/Infrared imagery coupled with end-guided guidance and is supplemented by a worldwide satellite navigation system. The CM-501GA has a combat weight of 100 kg and a 20 kg warhead with a hit rate of 90% at a range of 5-50kms.

Under Pakistan’s naval modernization program, the country is upgrading its fleets in the backdrop of changing maritime security in the Indian Ocean. Especially with India’s inclusion in the Quad group and its increasing strategic cooperation with US and allies have pushed PN to equip itself with modern weaponry. For this purpose, the PN has acquired the ita first Type 054A/P frigates (PNS Thugril) with 3 more under construction.

It is also building up to four MILGEM/ Jinnah class Corvettes, two Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV 1900s) “medium-altitude Long-Endurance CH-4 attack drones, a modern helicopter fleet, eight Type 039B AIP attack submarines under construction with China, acquisition of new “shallow-water attack submarines” and upgrading the F-22P frigates.

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