The birth of Royal Pakistan Navy came with the creation of Pakistan on the historic day of 14 August 1947. Like other navies of the commonwealth, Pakistan’s Navy also had the prefix “Royal” until the country was proclaimed a republic in 1956. At 0800 on 14 August 1947, the flag of Rear Admiral J W Jefford, Flag Officer Commanding Royal Pakistan Navy was hosted on his Flagship HMPS GODAVARI. The Admiral’s first signal addressed to the officers and men of the RPN was flashed to all ships and shore establishments.

“ Today is a historic day for Pakistan, doubly so for those of us in the Navy. The Dominion of Pakistan has come into being and with it a new Navy – the Royal Pakistan Navy – has been born. I am proud to have been appointed to command it and serve with you at this time. In the coming months, it will be my duty and yours to build up our Navy into a happy and efficient force.”

Quaid at the Naval Academy in Mar 1948
Quaid on-board HMPS GODAWARI in 1947

The privilege for presenting the first Guard of Honour to Quaid-e-Azam was given to RPN, which marked a high point of Independence Day Ceremony.

The PN share of the ships at the time of partition comprised 4 frigates/sloops, 4 fleet minesweepers, 8 motor minesweepers and harbour defence launches. The Naval Headquarters started functioning initially in one room office of the Naval Officer Incharge, Karachi. NHQ was later shifted to a building at West Wharf and subsequently shifted to Napier Barracks (Liaquat Barracks) at Karachi.

The training establishment HMPS HIMALAYA was commissioned as Gunnery and Radar School for the RIN on 27 Nov 1943. Soon after independence, it expanded into a combined training establishment housing the Signal, Torpedo and Anti-submarine, Tactics, Navigation and Direction, Supply and Secretariat and Cookery Schools.

HMPS QASIM, commissioned as a coastal defense establishment on Manora Island on 15 Apr 1948.

On 13 Oct 1948, HMPS Zulfiquar was converted into the first survey ship of the Navy.

HMPS Shifa was commissioned as the Navy's first hospital on 23 Sep 1953.

The first mechanical training establishment of Pakistan Navy was set up on Manora Island and commissioned as HMPS KARSAZ on 01 Dec 49. In 1952 PN Torpedo Depot was established at West Wharf. To meet the increasing demand of docking/repair, a dock was purchased from Italy and was commissioned as HMPS IQBAL. Subsequently the graving dock was opened at PN Dockyard Karachi on 7 Sep 54.

In 1956 Islamic Republic of Pakistan was proclaimed under the 1956 constitution. The prefix `Royal’ was dropped and the service redesignated as Pakistan Navy short title PN. PN Jack and Pakistan flag replaced the Queen’s colour and the white ensign respectively. The order of precedence of the three services changed from Navy, Army, Air Force to Army, Navy, Air Force.

In 1968 PNS IQBAL was commissioned for Special Services Group (Navy). One year later in 1969 Navy suited from khaki uniform to its traditional white uniform. PNS PESHAWAR was commissioned in 1970 as the depot for PN Dockyard. Pakistan Naval Academy was also established in the same year as PNS RAHBAR followed by commissioning of PNS ABDOZE as a depot for the submarine service.

First PN Staff course commenced in May 1971 at PN Staff College established in Karsaz area.

Quaid inspecting Guard of Honour on-board HMPS ZULFIQUAR in 1947

President Ayub with CNS at the Naval Academy in 1966

PNS DHAKA in 1969

The Maritime Security Agency was established on 1 Jan 1987. On 8 Jun 1996, PNS PUNJAB was commissioned as a depot unit at Lahore.

In 1974 Naval Headquarters was shifted to Islamabad and PNS ZAFAR was commissioned as a depot for PN personnel serving at Islamabad.

The Maritime Headquarters with Ferranti 5070 computer assisted coastal surveillance system was inaugurated at Clifton Karachi in 1976 alongwith PNS HAIDER commissioned as its depot.

In 1981 Pakistan Naval Engineering College was established and commissioned as PNS JAUHAR. In 1986 PNS BAHADUR was commissioned as the main professional training center for seaman branch personnel. It housed the Surface Warfare, Naval Warfare and OPS, Communications, Hydrography, EW, Instructional Techniques and Music schools.

PNS AKRAM, the first naval establishment on MAKRAN coast was commissioned in 1987 as a depot for naval detachments at GWADAR. The base camp was also established on ORMARA Head the same year and inaugurated as Remote Data Station MIANWALI.

In 1990 Marine Battalion of Pakistan Navy was formed and PNS QASIM, re-commissioned at Manora, was established as the HQ for marines.

In 1991 Pakistan naval ensign was hoisted at Jinnah station, which was established in the Antarctica. The same year RDS MIANWALI at ORMARA was commissioned as PNS AHSAN, a depot unit for personnel at ORMARA.

In 1992 Missile Depot was commissioned as PNS AATISH at Maripur.

In 1994 PNS NIGRAN was commissioned as the depot for Naval Provost Branch.

In 1996 PNS RAZA was commissioned as an Air Store Depot.

In 1994 ground breaking and foundation stone laying ceremony of “Jinnah Naval Harbour” (JNB) was performed. The base was finally commissioned in year 2000.




Just after independence on 14 August 1947 the Armed Forces Reconstitution Committee (AFRC) divided the Royal Indian Navy between both countries India and Pakistan. The Pakistan Navy secured two sloops, two frigates, four minesweepers, two trawlers, four harbour launches and some 3580 personnel (180 officers and 3400 ratings) and given the high percentage of delta areas on the Pakistan coast the Navy was given a number of Harbour Defence Motor Launches.

In February 1956, the British government announced supplying of several major surface combatants to Pakistan. These Warships, a cruiser and four destroyers were purchased with funds made available under the US Military Assistance Programme. The acquisition of a few additional warships that is two destroyers, eight coastal minesweepers and an oiler (between 1956-63) was the direct result of Pakistan's participation in the anti-communist defence pacts of SEATO and CENTO.

After 1971 India-Pak war the navy opted for a modest acquisition programme in the form of new Chinese built missile/ torpedo attack craft. Between 1972 and 1980, 12-SLAUGHTER class attack FPBs, 4 HUNAIN class attack craft and 4 HUCHWAN class hydrofoilcraft were delivered, followed by an acceptance of 6 ex-US GEARING class vessels.

During the 1980, the growth of the Pakistan Navy was unprecedented. It virtually doubled its surface fleet from 9-principal surface combatants in 1980 to 16 by 1989,acquiring sophisticated long-range anti-ship missile and enhanced its maritime reconnaissance capabilities. In order to counter Soviet expansion and force it to withdraw from Afghanistan, the US strengthened Pakistan's Military forces.

In 1982 the Reagan administration approved US$ 3.2 billions military and economic aid to Pakistan. Pakistan acquired eight Brooke and Garcia-class frigates from US Navy on a five year lease in 1988. A depot for repairs, EX-USS HECTOR followed the lease of these ships in April 1989. However after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 US President George Bush was advised to no longer certify that Pakistan was not involved in the development of nuclear weapons and the Pressler’s Amendment was invoked on 1 October 1990. The lease of the first Brooke class frigate expired in March 1993, the remaining in early 1994. This seriously impaired the Pakistan Navy, which was composed almost entirely of former US origin ships.

The two ex-RN LEANDER class frigates were acquired from UK in 1988 and extensively refitted in 1991/93. In 1988, the Pakistani and UK Government set- up a joint committee to explore future requirements during a low key visit of Lord Tref Garne, the then UK Minister of State for defence procurement. Discussion for the purchase of 6 ex-RN AMAZON class frigates began in 1992. In 1993-94 these ex-RN AMAZON class frigates were acquired and were modernized to meet the future requirement.

The first indigenously built large patrol craft PNS LARKANA was commissioned in January 94. Success of the design of this craft led the Navy into building of additional craft including missile launch capable variants. Two have already been commissioned recently.

Until recently, Pakistan Navy’s MCM forces would not have been able to deal with serious mine threats with only two ex-USN coastal minesweepers and eight type 312 drones to form its mine Warfare forces. But the acquisition of three new French mine hunters has brought a lot of improvement. The first vessel ex-FNS SAGITTAIRE was commissioned as PNS MUNSIF into Pakistan Navy in 1992. The second vessel PNS MUHAFIZ sailed for Karachi in Mar 96. The third vessel assembled by PN Dockyard was commissioned as PNS MUJAHID in 1997.

For replenishment at sea PNS NASR was acquired from Chinese Navy in Aug 87 and another support ship PNS MOAWIN (Ex HMS POOLSTER) was transferred in Jul 94 from Dutch Navy. Both the ships have underway replenishment capabilities. Other auxiliary forces include two oil barges and two oil tankers built in Karachi between 1984 and 1992, two coastal tankers, two 20 meter  utility craft and one 61 m survey ship.














On 28 Sep 1974 the first of the six Westland Sea King helicopters was acquired from UK marking the introduction of naval aviation and rotary wing aircraft in the service. III squadron was established for these rotary wing aircraft. PNS MEHRAN was subsequently commissioned as the base for the Naval Air Arm on 26 Sep 75. Rest of these helicopters also arrived in subsequent year.

In 1975 four Atlantic LRMP aircraft were acquired from France marking the introduction of fixed wing aircraft in the service and establishment of 29 Squadron. One plane while on a routine training mission in Aug 1999 was shot down by an Indian Air Force fighter jet in a display of naked Indian aggression. In 1977 six Alouette helicopters were acquired from France leading to the formation of 333 Squadron.In 1982 Fokker F-27 Aircraft were acquired leading to the formation of 27 Squadron.In 1994 three Lynx helicopters were acquired from UK leading to the formation of 222 Squadron.

In 1996 three P3-C Orion aircraft were acquired from United States and were inducted into the 28 Squadron of the naval air arm. The delivery of these Long Range Maritime patrol aircraft had earlier been withheld due to the application of the Pressler Amendment in 1990. One of these planes was lost due to an accident while carrying out routine exercises in own coastal waters on 29 Oct 1999.






The acquisition of an ex-US TENCH class submarine by Pakistan Navy in 1964 was particularly significant, not only because Pakistan became the second country after Indonesia, amongst the Indian Ocean littorals to operate a submarine, but it also brought a new dimension to naval warfare in the Indo-Pakistan context. The submarine actively participated in Indo Pak 1965 war but was lost in 1971 war while deployed on a mine laying operation off the Indian Coast.

Pakistan acquired 4 Daphne and 2 Agosta class submarines from French Navy in early 70s and late 70s respectively. The submarines were modified to fire Harpoon missiles in 1985. The submarine force is the main strength of the PN Fleet. To strengthen it further Agosta 90 B submarine project was undertaken in early 90s. First of the three submarines PNS/M KHALID has been commissioned and reached Pakistan in 1999. Whereas, the second submarine was commissioned as PNS/M SAAD. The third submarine will be built entirely in the country. In addition Pakistan navy also operates four Italian midget submarines.

In 1996 three P3-C Orion aircraft were acquired from United States and were inducted into the 28 Squadron of the naval air arm. The delivery of these Long Range Maritime patrol aircraft had earlier been withheld due to the application of the Pressler Amendment in 1990. One of these planes was lost due to an accident while carrying out routine exercises in own coastal waters on 29 Oct 1999.







Operation Dwarka is one of the most significant events of 1965 Indo-Pak war which reflected courage, determination, professional competence, dedication and coordination of the PN personnel involved in it. The objectives of this operation were:

a. To draw the heavy enemy units out of Bombay for the submarine GHAZI to attack

b. To destroy the radar installation at Dwarka

c. To lower Indian morale

d. To divert Indian Air effort away from the north

On 7 September 1965 when the ships were on their normal war patrol, the following signal was received from Naval Headquarters:

“Task group comprising PNS BABUR, PNS KHAIBAR, PNS BADR, PNS JAHANGIR, PNS ALAMGIR, PNS SHAHJAHAN and PNS TIPU SULTAN is to be in position 239 degrees – 120 miles from Dwarka light house by 071800 E Sep with maximum power available. Task group thereafter to carryout bombardment of Dwarka about midnight using 50 rounds per ship. Force is to retire from bombardment area by 080030 E Sep and return to present patrol area at full speed. One or two enemy frigates may be expected to encounter in the area in addition to enemy air threat”

The Commodore Commanding PN Flotilla accordingly originated his signal at 1835, the salient features of which were:

a. The initial position for attack was 206 degrees Dwarka light 6 miles

b. The target was to be city installations and conspicuous chimney

c. Complete radio silence was to be maintained except for guarding air warning radar.

The Fleet immediately topped up fuel and shaped course for Dwarka operation. At midnight the ships were on Initial Position (IP) with all their guns loaded and the men ready to strike a historic punch on enemy’s face. The city of Dwarka was completely blacked out and target could only be identified on radar. At 0024 bombardment was ordered to commence when ships were 5.5 to 6.3 miles from Dwarka light. It took only four minutes to complete the bombardment, firing altogether about 350 rounds on the target. Upon successful completion of the attack the ships retired immediately without any loss or damages. There was no considerable resistance from the enemy and the ships safely arrived at their patrol area by 0635 on 8 Sep.




During 1971 Indo-Pak war, the burden of Pakistan Navy's offensive effort hinged on the small but effective submarine force. PN Submarine HANGOR sailed in the early hours of 22 November 1971 to patrol off the Indian Kathiawar coast under the command of Commander Ahmed Tasnim S.J.

On 9 Dec, in an effort to locate the evasive enemy, HANGOR extended her patrol northward to investigate some radio transmissions intercepted on her sensors. Two contacts were picked up on passive sonar and were identified as warships. The initial range was 6 to 8 miles. A pursuit of the enemy began but the first attempt to attack these ships failed due to speed disadvantage. The submarine however managed to forecast target ships movement and succeeded in taking up a tactically advantageous position on the path of the patrolling frigates by 1900. At 1957 the submarine fired a down the throat shot with a homing torpedo at the northerly ship from a depth of 40 meters.

The torpedo was tracked but no explosion was heard. The second torpedo was therefore fired immediately on the incomming southerly ship and this was followed by a tremendous explosion. The torpedo had found its mark. The other enemy frigate came straight for the submarine when a third torpedo was fired. A distant explosion was heard subsequently and the submarine turned west towards deeper waters for evasion.

In this spectacular action, INS KHUKRI, the ship of the Squadron Commander of Indian 14th Frigate Sqn was sunk within two minutes after receiving a hit in the magazine where explosives were held. 18 Officers and 176 sailors including the Commanding Officer lost their lives. This came as a shattering blow to the Indian Navy. HANGOR’s action demonstrated Pakistan Navy's tactical superiority in sub-surface warfare and after the war even the BBC commentators praised Pakistan Naval effort. Considering the shape, size and age of the ships at its command, they said that the Pakistan Navy had acquitted itself well against the Indian Navy.