Turkey’s STM Technologies (Savunma Teknolojileri Mühendislik ve Ticaret A.Ş.) has begun the work on modernizing the third Agosta Class Submarine said the company’s general manager during the 15th International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF 2021).
“Our activities on the modernization of Agosta class submarines are continuing. The first ship has been delivered, the modernization activities of the third ship started,” said STM General Manager Özgür Güleryüz to local news agency AA.
Güleryüz said that STM took an active role in submarine modernization projects in Pakistan and Turkey and assumed a very important role in the construction of new types of submarines for the Naval Forces.
STM had won a bid to Midlife upgrade three Pakistani Agosta 90B submarines in June 2016, against the submarines’ French manufacturers. Pakistan has three Agosta 90B submarines: Khalid, Saad, and Hamza. The Modernisation activities are being carried out in Karachi’s Pakistan Naval Shipyard. This project faces sanctions and restrictions imposed by France, the producer of the submarine platform.
The first boat of the Pakistan Navy Agosta 90B Class Submarine Modernization Project was finished in early 2020. Key elements of Agosta 90B modernization include replacing the entire sonar suite, periscope systems, command-and-control system, radar, and electronic support systems of the submarine. Installing Torpedo countermeasure systems and acoustic measurement sensors are also part of the upgrades.
Turkish supplier HAVELSAN has designed and produced the entire Command and Control System, including the Sonar Suite, Data Distribution System, Combat Management System, and Torpedo Fire Control Systems. In addition, Kaşif, the National Geographic Information System software developed by HAVELSAN is used in the infrastructure of the Command and Control System.
France refuses to upgrade Pakistani Agosta 90B submarines and the India factor
In November 2020, it was reported that France had refused a request from Pakistan to upgrade its Agosta 90B-class submarines with air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems that would allow them to stay underwater longer. As per the report, the trigger was due to Imran Khan’s verbal attack on French President Emmanuel Macron for taking action against radical Islamist separatists.
As per informed sources, India had a precondition for the Scorpene deal wherein France won’t upgrade Pakistani Agosta 90B submarines. France has huge stakes in India as the country will decide on ordering more units of Scorpene boats and an upcoming P-75I submarine deal worth billions of dollars. France is also in discussion with India for a role in the Indian SSN projects. In 2006, the French company DCNS (now Naval Group) had faced the ire of the Indian government for approaching Pakistan with an offer of a new generation of submarine after sealing the Indian Scorpene deal.