“Pakistan’s New Midget Submarine: Emerging Challenge to India in the Arabian Sea,” The Diplomat, April 29, 2020.
Pakistan’s submarine force is undergoing major modernization. In the last five years, Pakistan has inked two major submarine deals with China and Turkey to upgrade its submarine force. The submarine deals with China and Turkey are expected to be a major game changer for the Pakistan Navy. Along with that, Pakistan is now focusing on building new midget submarines for its Navy.
Pakistan’s Special Service Group (Navy) has been using the Cosmos MG110 midget for overt and covert operations. These submarines have been in service from the early 1990s and are nearing the end of their service lives. In order to replace these aging submarines, Pakistan has proposed to build a new midget submarine. In the Ministry of Defense Production (MoDP) Year Book 2015–2016, Pakistan listed the development and construction of a midget submarine as a target for 2017–2018. The MoDP documents have also mentioned that midget submarine project will be based on indigenous design and production.
Notably, a recent satellite image confirms that Pakistan might have indigenously developed a new midget submarine as it proposed in the MoDP 2015–2016. From 2016 on, one can see the submarine partially covered in a tent in. Since 2019, the submarine can be seen in open view, suggesting that the construction is near completion and that sea trials may have commenced.
The new midget submarine, which is compact in size, is leading to speculation regarding its possible role in the Arabian Sea and in combat.