Karachi Shipyard is the oldest Heavy Engineering Works of Pakistan which is catering for its Ship Building, Ship Repairing, Submarine/Warship Construction and Heavy/General Engineering requirements. KSEW was established in early 1950s as a project of PIDC. It was incorporated as a public limited company in 1957. The shipyard spread over an area of 29 hectares (71 acres). KSEW has a large Ship Building Hall, three Ship Building Berths, two Dry Docks, three Foundries (Iron, Steel & Non-Ferrous), Fabrication Shops, one machine shop and other supporting facilities like Carpentry, Pipe Fitting and Light Steel Fabrication Shop. KSEW is working as an autonomous commercial organization under the Ministry of Defence, Government of Pakistan.
In the 1990s KSEW received technology from France for building the Agosta 90B Khalid class submarine. The technology was mostly related to construction of the pressure hull and out-fitting of the submarine. Drawings, computer aided design tools and more than 20,000 technical documents from France were transferred. Training programs for 300 engineers and technicians took place in France and another 600 personnel were trained in Pakistan. In 1995, surveys and upgrades to naval dockyard infrastructure were carried out by French personnel which included a section building hall, combined outfitting workshop, pipe-bending workshop, hull fabrication workshop, grit blasting and painting facility, dock lift system and a pickling and etching plant. The third Agosta 90B submarine, PNS Hamza, was constructed with the newly developed MESMA air-independent propulsion unit, while the first two (PNS Khalid and PNS Saad) will be retro-fitted during their next overhauls with a "plug" containing a MESMA AIP unit. The submarine's hull will be cut and the plug inserted. The second MESMA unit was shipped in June 2011.
The next submarine project will see KSEW jointly involved with Chinese company CSOC (China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co. Ltd.) in the design and construction of six submarines equipped with air-independent propulsion (AIP). These will be designed to Pakistani specifications and four will be built at a CSOC shipyard in China, while two will be constructed by KSEW. It is believed that little upgrading of facilities is required because much of the current infrastructure meets the requirements. The preliminary negotiations were reported to be completed in March 2011. It was earlier believed that the project would involve China's Type-041 Yuan class submarine, which had been mentioned by Admiral Noman Bashir, Chief of Naval Staff, several times since 2009.
- Al-Abbas - first one was built in 1967 for Muhammadi Steamship Company Limited.
- MV Islamabad - largest ship constructed by KSEW.
- PNS Aslat of the F-22P Zulfiquar class frigate
- Jalalat II class missile boat
- Larkana class large patrol craft
- Ansari, Usman (14 March 2011). "Pakistan in Deal To Buy Chinese Subs: Report". Defense News (www.defensenews.com). Retrieved 23 July 2011. "ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Navy has reportedly negotiated a preliminary deal with China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co. Ltd. (CSOC) to jointly design and build six air-independent propulsion (AIP) submarines, surprising analysts who had expected a deal based on existing Chinese designs."
- "Pakistan's Tailor-Made Transfer of Technology". DCNS. Retrieved 23 July 2011.
- "Second Mesma AIP Ready for Shipment to Pakistan". Defence Talk (www.defencetalk.com. June 23, 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2011.
- Malik, Iftikhar Ahmed, History of Pakistan Merchant Navy 1947- 2009 Karachi 2010 (privately published) pg 6
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