Perrys for Pakistan: USS McInerney & the Alamgir Class
On Feb 19/10, the US DSCA announced Pakistan’s official request to buy the Oliver Hazard Perry Class frigate USS McInerney [FFG 8], plus refurbishment and anti-submarine improvements. That deal is now a contract, and is reportedly the first step in an 8-ship purchase.
In 2009, USS McInerney trialed the naval MQ-8B Fire Scout helicopter UAV in counter-drug operations around the Caribbean, and became the first navy ship to use unmanned helicopters in a drug bust. It’s one member of a popular but declining ship class.
Pakistan’s Perrys: The Alamgir Class
Perry class frigates serve beyond the USA in the navies of Australia, Egypt, Poland, Spain, Taiwan, and Turkey. Most of those ships retain their original missile launching systems, and Australia’s ships have just finished an expensive set of deep upgrades.
Oliver Hazard Perry Class frigates do still serve with the US Navy, but American ships have had their bow-mounted Mk.13 launch systems for SM-1 Standard air defense and RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles removed. Those changes leave just torpedoes and a 76mm naval gun for offense, and the 20mm Phalanx CIWS as the ships’ main defensive weapon. In Pakistan’s case, fixed RGM-84 Harpoon missile launchers have been added, to give the ships naval combat capabilities.
Further reports indicate that McInerney’s refurbishments are aimed at mechanical remediation and improving its anti-submarine capability only, making the term “guided missile frigate” something of a misnomer for Pakistan’s new ships. Unless Pakistan undertakes additional approved work, its Alamgir Class will be anti-submarine frigates only, their weaponry outclassed by Pakistan’s new Chinese F-22P/ Zulfiquar Class multi-role frigates, and even its older British Type 21/ Tariq Class ships. On the other hand, the 8 planned ships will be filling an important coastal patrol and anti-submarine role, at a bargain price.
The US DSCA notes that over half of Afghanistan’s heroin is smuggled through Pakistan, using overland routes. After that, it has to get to world markets, and most of it is shipped by sea. As Somali pirates continue to expand their range across the Indian Ocean, Pakistan’s Navy will also find itself confronting them on a more regular basis.
Contracts and Key Events
Beyond the $58.7 million of Foreign Military Financing funds used to refurbish the ship, an additional $6.5 million was spent on specialized training for Pakistan’s 240 sailors in the ship’s engineering, navigation and combat systems. US DSCA.
Jan 8/10: USN Capt. Edward Lundquist (Ret.) describes the overhaul process for Pakistan’s Alamgir, which has to be conducted in the USA as part of the deal. VSE Corporation is the prime contractor, with work performed at BAE Systems Southeast Division (formerly Atlantic Marine Florida) in Jacksonville, FL, and US Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) in Washington, DC as the executing agency.
Most of the work was mechanical. All 4 diesels were removed and overhauled, along with air conditioning units and refrigeration. Fuel oil tanks and voids were cleaned, inspected, repaired and painted, all shafting was removed and renovated, and the controllable pitch propeller system was overhauled. Likewise, sea valves were removed and either repaired or replaced, and almost every pump was opened and inspected, resulting in an 80% overhaul rate there. Ventilators and fans went through a similar process, with a 50% overhaul rate. Breakers, the NR3 switchboard, the windlass and boat davit all got inspections and overhauls. Completely new equipment includes a new navigation suite and bridge, the composite dome over the fully overhauled SQS-56 sonar, and a VIP cabin.
Meanwhile, VSE’s Ship Transfer Assistance Team (STAT) provides training that’s capped by a light off assessment, and at sea exercises modeled after those employed by the US Navy’s Afloat Training Group. The crew of PNS Alamgir moved aboard in December 2010, and are being qualified in firefighting and damage control, PMS and 3-M, and trained to U.S. Navy PQS standards. Sea trials are expected in mid-late January 2011, with a goal of sailing PNS Alamgir away on Feb 11/10.
Aug 31/10: The frigate USS McInerney is slated for inactivation, and re-commissioned as PNS Alamgir.
April 20/10: Pakistan signs a contract to purchase and refurbish the USS McInerney. The purchase is free, but reported terms for the refurbishment vary from $64.77 – $78.0 million. The frigate is expected to be re-commissioned as PNS Alamgir on Aug 31/10, following refurbishments aimed at improving its anti-submarine capabilities.
Pakistan’s Defence Procurement Attache Captain Abdur Rehman reportedly inked the contract, and this is reportedly the first of a planned Pakistani fleet of 8 Perry Class frigates. Pakistan’s DAWN | India’s IANS | Russia’s RIA Novosti.
Feb 19/10: US DSCA announces [PDF] Pakistan’s official request for the initial ship, plus plus refurbishment, onboard spares, spare and repairs parts, support equipment, publications and technical data, and U.S. Government and contractor support.
The prime contractor is unknown at this time, but the estimated cost of the initial transfer plus refurbishment and support is $78 million. Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of any U.S. Government and contractor representatives to Pakistan.
Oct 18/08: Pakistan’s The Nation reports that President George W. Bush has approved the transfer of USS McInerney [FFG 8] to Pakistan. Cost is expected to be $65 million, and the ship is intended to monitor Pakistani territorial waters.