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The submarine was first revealed on Forbes in April 2020. Since then further satellite images have emerged. These provide additional clues about the unidentified boat. But more significantly, there may have been a social media leak from an official Twitter account.
On July 3, Rear Admiral M Arshid Javed, Director General Public Relations for the Pakistan Navy, shared a video of a passing out parade. In the video new operatives of the Special Services Group Navy (SSG-N) special forces unit are parading and receiving awards. They are marching in the parade square at PNS Iqbal, the SSG-N’s headquarters and training base. For the first three seconds of the video part of the mystery submarine is visible in the background.
Since, the news and images of the indigenously developed Midget Submarine have surfaced on the internet. According to the satellite images, it is an indigenously developed X-Craft Midget Submarine for the Navy Special Service Group (SSGN). The Midget Submarine is about 55 long and it has a beam measurement of around 8 feet. However, the exact displace of X-Craft Midget Submarine is currently not know.
An official video (on Twitter) of the Passing Out Parade of the latest Pakistan Navy SEAL Course provides fresh OSINT (Open Source intelligence) on Pakistan’s unreported midget submarine. The parade was held at PNS Iqbal in Karachi, which is home of the Pakistani Navy’s Special Service Group (SSG (N)). The parade comprised of officers & sailors, who completed rigorous training in line with the elite unit’s high standards. The Chief Guest, COMCOAST, Vice Admiral Fasial Rasul Lodhi congratulated the Navy SEALs awarded the prizes. In the background was a rare, possibly unique, glimpse at the mystery midget submarine.
The propeller, round-shapes nose and vertical rudder of the X-Craft Midget Submarine is clearly visible in the second satellite imagery. However, the snorkel of the Submarine is not visible in the picture.
One thing is confirmed in the Satellite Imagery the new X-Craft Midget Submarine is somewhat slightly smaller than the Cosmos MG110 Midget Submarines and it appears to be somewhat larger than the SDV or Swimmer Delivery Vehicle.
Pakistan Navy has used the term X-Craft for the Midget Submarine, which it is inherited from the Italian Manufacturer Cosmos, who sold three numbers of MG110 Midget Submarines to PAKISTAN back in early 1990s. Interesting to know that the same Italian Defense Manufacturer has borrowed the X-Craft term from the WWII era Midget Submarines of Royal Navy.
The X-Craft MG110 Midget Submarines can easily transport up to 8 Special Forces personnel on Covert, Overt and Frogman Operations. The X-Craft MG 110 Midget Submarine consists of 2 Torpedo tubes that can be armed with the SUT type torpedo.
Since 2016, Pakistan Navy has partially covered its under-developed Midget Submarine in the tent, however, the Satellite imagery has revealed the new X-Craft Midget Submarine is standing in an open area at PNS Iqbal, Karachi Port, which implies that the submarine has been developed and ready for operations.
Pakistan Navy X-Craft Midget Submarine also features the simple hull construction design, which indicates that the submarine is easy to operate. The compact size of the Submarine allows the Submarine to transport from one place to another by using land routes.
Some Defense Analysts suggest that TURKEY might be the one country that has helped PAKISTAN to achieve this milestone.
The newly built X-Craft Midget Submarine can easily challenge the maritime operations of India in the Arabian sea by enforcing Area Denial and Access Denial (A2/AD). It is worth mentioning that PNS Iqbal is a special Naval Base designed for special undisclosed activities and development Of PAKISTAN Strategic Naval Forces and PAKISTAN Naval Fleet.
The Pakistan Navy – IDSA
The Pakistan Navy Special Service Group abbreviated SSGN or simply Navy SEALs, is the special operations force tasked with the conducting the small-unit based military operations in all environmental formats of the sea, air, and land by adopting to the tactics of the unconventional warfare.
The command and control of the Special Service Group (Navy) falls under the responsibility of the Naval Strategic Forces Command and its personnel are directly recruited into Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) Covert Action Division (CAD) upon their retirements from their military service.
Inter-Services Intelligence: The ISI is tasked with collection of foreign and domestic intelligence; co-ordination of intelligence functions of the three military services; surveillance over its cadre, foreigners, the media, politically active segments of Pakistani society, diplomats of other countries accredited to Pakistan and Pakistani diplomats serving outside the country; the interception and monitoring of communications; and the conduct of covert offensive operations. Critics of the ISI say that it has become a state within a state, answerable neither to the leadership of the army, nor to the President or the Prime Minister. The result is there has been no real supervision of the ISI, and corruption, narcotics, and money have all come into play, further complicating the political scenario. Drug money was used by ISI to finance not only the Afghanistan war, but also the ongoing proxy war against India in Kashmir and Northeast India. The ISI reportedly has a total of about 10,000 officers and staff members, a number which does not include informants and assets. It is organized into divisions responsible for distinct functions: intelligence estimates and assessments; political intelligence; counter-intelligence; operations in Jammu and Kashmir; foreign espionage; signals intelligence; and technical support. In addition, it also has an explosives and chemical warfare section. https://www.du.edu/korbel/cenex/media/documents/Pakistan_Background_Document.pdf
Naval Strategic Force Command
The Special Service Group Navy (reporting name: SSG-[N]) are the principle and elite special operations force (SOF), part of the Naval Strategic Forces Command. The unit was established by then-CNS Admiral S. M. Ahsan under the advise and guidance of United States Navy SEALs, in 1966. The SSG-N’s first combat operation took place in 1971 war and its operational diameter has increased since then. The SSG-N courses are extremely tough, one of the toughest courses offered by the Pakistan Military and in the world. The SSG-N are trained together first with the elite special forces of the army and the air force, then the special airborne, seaborne, and water-diving courses are taught and trained by the instructors to the recruiters of the veteran Navy commandos and elite operatives. The SSG-[N] are often sent to the United States to complete final course with the US Navy SEALs in Colorado and California. Due to its interminable nature, the SSG-[N] are a classified and clandestine unit and their history of operations are never made available to the public domain. Although the official strength remains classified.
PNS IQBAL is the headquarter of commander SSG(N). The commander SSG(N) is placed under the command of Commander Coastal areas.
SSG(N) comprises of three sub commands.
• CO PNS IQBAL
• CO SEAL
• CO VBSS
PNS IQBAL houses HQ SSG(N) and is the logistic support to HQs SSG (N), SEAL and VBSS segments in their bases and field areas. The maintenance of all sea transport, VBSS boats are provide by PNS IQBAL. The training and medical setup is also located at PNS IQBAL.
SEAL group comprises of SEAL TEAM, Air Borne and ATT. These teams operate under CO SEAL GROUP.
It is the main stay of SEAL group. The primary objective of this team is clandestine operation in enemy’s waters with out detection and Exit Trunk operation in the enemy’s waters.
ANTI TERRORIST TEAM
Threat of saboteurs/ terrorist attacks is increasing day by day. Sustained preparedness for rapid response to such threat is the prime responsibilities of ATT VBSS boats are very modern fast speedboats with integrated sensors and equipments. The boats are used to seal group in enemy territory and conduct operation on suspected vessels. Pakistan Navy has always tried to remain abreast with the new concepts and the Special Services Group (Navy) at numerous occasions has been employed as an active part of PN force in assistance of coalition forces against terrorism. To enhance their capabilities further PN has inducted two speedboat for VBSS operations The roles of VBSS are:
MIO/VBSS operation at high seas/ anchorages
Surveillance/ covert surveillance
Anti terrorist protection of the coastal & offshore installations
Search and rescue
Anti smuggling duties
During the post 1965 war analysis Pakistan Navy felt the need of establishing a Special force, which could be used for covert offensive operations against enemy shore based facilities and the units at sea or in harbors. As a consequence, training volunteers for frogman / special Ops formed a new offensive arm for Pakistan Navy in 1966. Shortly after raising, the capabilities of this elite group were multiplied through the acquisition of midgets, chariots and combat/ auxiliary diving equipment. The training of volunteers selected from all branches of the Navy for Special Service Group (Navy) was conducted on the lines of British Special Boat Squadron (SBS), British Special Air Services (SAS) and US Navy SEALS. They were to be trained as frogmen, commandos, paratroopers and operators of special craft of multiple roles. During the initial years, basic training of SSG (N) was conducted at Diving School PNS HIMALYIA and the advance training at PNS IQBAL, which was commissioned on 29 March 1967 as the home of SSG (N). Since 1968, all SSG (N) training is being conducted at PNS IQBAL.
Within a few years of rising, SSG (N) participated in PAK-INDO war of 1971. During this war SSG (N) was divided into two groups for X-craft and SEAL Ops respectively.
SEAL Group participated in Counter Insurgency (CI) Ops in East Pakistan. Apart from the PN S/M, X-Craft were the only platform, which patrolled the enemy’s water for weeks.
During first two decades of its inception SSG (N) capabilities were confined to frogmen Ops with overwhelming focus on underwater covert insertion through X-Craft and chariots. However through a well thought out training philosophy SSG (N) transformed into a potent out fit capable of operating at Sea, Sub Sea, Air and Land dimensions. Through out its history of almost 4 decades unit has been performing diversified Ops as per the dictates and employment directives of higher HQs.
Special Services Group (Navy) has been assigned following roles:
• Frogman Operations through X-Craft
• Air borne Operations
• Commando Operations
• Salvage Operations
• Search and Rescue Missions