The Tariq-class is operated by the Pakistan Navy as a four-strong group of frigate warships. The class, originally numbering six, was built up from the acquisition of six ex-British Royal Navy "Type 21" frigates - HMS Amazon, HMS Ambuscade, HMS Avenger, HMS Arrow, HMS Alacrity and HMS Active. The ships were acquired from 1993-1994 and became PNS Babur, PNS Tariq (F-181), PNS Tippu Sultan (F-186), PNS Khaibar (F-183), PNS Badr and PNS Shah Jahan (F-185) in Pakistan naval service. Babur and Badr have since been decommissioned.
The original British group numbered eight total ships and two were lost-in-service during the Falklands War of 1982 against Argentina. Once their usefulness in Royal Navy service was deemed over, the ships were ripe candidates for foreign sale to an interested party and this became Pakistan in the early1990s. The class was then renamed Tariq-class based on the lead ship - PNS Tariq, which was the ex-HMS Ambuscade.
Tariq was constructed by Yarrow Shipbuilders Limited in Scotland (Glasgow) and was modernized through KESW in Pakistan (Karachi). Changes included installation of the 20mm Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) and deletion of the "Sea Cat" missile launcher. To further enhance capabilities, the type saw a Chinese 6-cell LY-60N "Hunting Eagle" Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) system installed.
The original power scheme was retained in the form of 2 x Rolls-Royce Olympus TM3B gas turbines of 50,000 horsepower mated with 2 x Rolls-Royce Tyne RM1A gas turbines of 9,900 horsepower in a COmbined Gas-Or-Gas (COGOG) arrangement giving the vessel a top speed of 32 knots and a range out to 4,000 nautical miles. This arrangement allows either gas turbine set to be used to accomplish dash or cruise actions as needed (the Tyne engines used for cruising and the Olympus for dash actions).
Dimensions of the warship include an overall length of 384 feet, a beam of 41.6 feet and a draught of 19.5 feet. Displacement is 3,760 tons under full load (post-modernization by Pakistan).
Aboard is a crew of 175 to 215 personnel including detachments of Pakistan Marines. Armament is led by the single 4.5" (114mm) Vickers Mark 8 series turreted deck gun over the forecastle. 2 x 20mm Oerlikon Anti-Aircraft (AA) autocannons are used for extreme close-in defense alongside the 20mm Phalanx fit. The Hunting Eagle launcher provides a ranged aircraft deterrent. 2 x Triple torpedo tubes are also carried as are 2 x Mark 36 SRBOC chaff launchers and a single Type 182 towed decoy.
The warship has a Cold War-era profile with its stepped hull superstructure containing the bridge section, mastworks and low-profile smoke funnel. The funnel is seated near midships. The turret is set at the forecastle with good firing arcs forward and to the sides. Over the stern is a helipad that can service a single medium-lift helicopter or light class rotary-wing system (typically Aerospatiale Alouette III or Westland Lynx but also the Camcopter S-100 unmanned helicopter).
All of the modern sensors and processing systems are there: air-surface search, Electronic Warfare (EW), chaff and flare dispensers, sonar and the like making PNS Tariq a notable naval platform in modern times.
All four ships continue in Pakistan naval service and are fielded alongside the four-strong Zulfiquar-class (detailed elsewhere on this site) and the single Alamgir-class as fighting frigates. While the Tariq-class represents ex-British ships, the Zulfiquar-class is of Chinese origin. The sole Alamgir ship is an ex-U.S. Navy Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate acquired in 2010. Collectively, these ships form the heart of Pakistan Naval surface warfare.