TIANJIN  - The first Fast Attack Craft (FAC) equipped with missiles designated as PNS Azmat, built at China State Shipbuilding Company (CSOC), Xingang Shipyard was handed over to Pakistan Navy on Monday.

With the induction of this technology in the fleet, the Pakistan Navy has become the first maritime force in the region that is equipped with stealth technology after its first Fast Attack Craft (FAC) is armed with eight C-802A/CSS-N-8 Saccade anti-ship missiles. PNS Azmat has a crew of 12 to 14 sailors which is less than half that of similar FAC (M). Each FAC (M) will cost around $50 million. It is speculated to be a 500-600 ton, 60-meter ship equipped with heavy missiles.

Speaking as a chief guest at the commissioning ceremony of PNS Azmat at Xingang Shipyard in Tianjin on Monday, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Asif Sandila said Navy was fully prepared to counter any opponent challenging Pakistan’s sovereignty or threatening security of the country’s waters. Admiral Sandila said the induction of PNS Azmat will supplement Pakistan Navy’s combat potential.

Terming it a milestone in defence and strategic cooperation between Pakistan and China, he said, “This ship will undoubtedly be a very welcome addition in PN fleet which would indeed provide synergy in defence of our sea frontiers. Its immense firepower coupled with stealthy features makes it a real versatile platform which would not only prove vital for ensuring effective presence in our area of operations, but would bring a new dimension of operation of stealthy platform of this tonnage.”

Chief of the naval staff said construction of PNS Azmat concluded in China and the second craft will be completed in Pakistan by the end of 2012. He appreciated the hard work and professional competence of the designers, engineers, technicians and workers who had been associated with this project.

PNS Azmat is equipped with state-of-the-art weaponry and sensors. Addition of this ship will strengthen the Pakistan Navy’s fleet with advance naval warfare capability and prowess. Work for the construction of two FAC (M) ships had started in June 2010. On its way to Pakistan the ship will stop over in Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to China, Masood Khan and the presidents of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation were also present on this occasion.