Islamabad: As part of technology transfer deal with Polish shipbuilding company Techno Marine, Pakistan’s Bahria Boat Building Yard launched its first 12T marine assault boat on December 5 at its Karachi facility.
This represents Techno Marine’s expanding presence in Pakistan with the company previously having supplied 30 Chaser TM-1226 rigid inflatable boats for Pakistan Navy’s special forces.
The contract for the marine assault boats was signed in 2018, but verifiable public information is limited. Available information notes the delivery in 2019 of two 12T vessels.
However, a spokesman with Bahria Boat Building Yard said the Pakistan Navy ordered 18 12T boats made up of two types. The Karachi Naval Dockyard is building those powered by outboard engines, and the Navy hired Bahria to make those powered by water jets. Bahria is currently building the remaining three of four vessels it is currently contracted to produce.
The spokesman also said efforts are underway to secure more domestic customers for the Bahria-built boats.
Around the 2003-2004 time frame, Thailand’s Marsun shipyard supplied M-16 fast assault boats — similar to the 12T — and the design for Pakistan’s locally built Jurrat-class missile boats. However, the M-16 vessels no longer meet the Pakistan Navy’s requirements.
The Bahria spokesman said the 12T “is for surveillance, policing purposes and [is] extremely swift in handling, as required, to operate in restricted or Creek areas,” but also around other sensitive areas such as the main naval base in Ormara and the commercial port of Gwadar.
The “Creek areas” refers to the disputed border with India around the Sir Creek, where the land border reaches the Arabian Sea. The tidal estuary is formed of marshland and shifting creeks. Conflicting claims over the border have resulted in a disputed maritime boundary in the Arabian Sea shaped like a large triangle, within which may be subsea energy resources.
Though the Pakistan Marines service patrols the Creeks area with British-built Griffon hovercraft, the 12T would enable a more effective patrolling presence into the disputed area of sea.
The 12T is equipped with twin inboard Cummins-powered Hamilton water jets. It can reach 42 knots (48 mph). It is also equipped with a navigational suite from British company Raymarine, and features ballistic protection by Danish company Scanfiber Composites.