January 05, 2010




At the Almirante Storni Shipyard in Buenos Aires on the 22nd January, the hull of
Type TR-1700 submarine ARA “San Juan” was cut open to facilitate replacement of
diesel generators. With this act the Argentine navy has recovered a technological
capability lost since the 90s when the then Astilleros Domecq Garcia Shipyard was
closed and deactivated. The shipyard was re-opened in 2003 and since then a
number of technological capabilities have been restored, including the recovery of
battery units, providing a firm base for the local integral overhauling, maintenance
and construction of submarines.

Project PAM (Patrulleros de Alta Mar) is for up to 5 OPVs of 1,800 tons. With a
length of over 80m, the ships are to have diesel propulsion and to be armed with a
40mm gun. The ships will be built at the Rio Santiago shipyard to the same Fassmer
design as the Chilean boats with construction expected to begin in 2009.


An official confirmation of plans to acquire four diesel electric submarines, built to a
design derived from the SCORPENE licensed from DCNS, came in December 2008.
Three conventional boats will be built at a new shipyard to be constructed by local
engineering firm Odebretch at Itaguai, 500km south of Rio de Janeiro. The new
shipyard will be known as Arsenal de Sepetiba and will include a new home base for
the Submarine Force, set to move from its current site at Naval Base Almirante
Castro e Silva, at the Bay of Guanabara, close to Rio de Janeiro. DCNS will build
the lead of the series at its Cherbourg Shipyards. The total cost of the project,
including the construction and fitting of the shipyard and the building of four
submarines, is said to be in the area of US$4Bn.
According to local sources, work towards the nuclear submarine during the last three
decades had accumulated US$1.1Bn by by 2006. To date, the official line is that an
additional budget allocation of no less than US$1.5Bn will be needed, in order to
facilitate construction of a first nuclear powered submarine by 2020.
However, many observers believe that current financial and schedule expectations
surrounding the project are over-optimistic – year 2030 would be a more realistic
deadline to see a Brazilian nuclear powered submarine going to sea, if a budget
close to US$2.5Bn is secured.
The main role of the Navy, according to the New Defence Strategic Plan is to provide
security to the new oil and gas fields of TUPI and JUPITER off the coast of Rio de
Janeiro. Despite the financial constraints during recent years, the Brazilian Navy
deploys the largest fleet in South America.
Regarding amphibious capabilities, the single “Newport” class LST “Mattoso Maia”
and both “Thomaston” class LPDs “Ceara” and “Rio de Janeiro” were re-inforced
between 2007 and 2008 with the acquisition of the ex-Sir Galand 2008 re-named
“Garcia D’Avila” and ex-Sir Bedivere renamed “Almirante Saboia,” both joining the
fleet in Brazil after completing a refit in Falmouth in July 2009.
In 2005, the six “Niteroi” class frigates completed the MOD-FRAG refit programme,
receiving a complete upgrade of their combat systems. According to reports, plans
exist to replace them during the next decade by six FREMM multipurpose frigates
equipped with cruise missiles and a long range air defence system.
In September 2006 the Brazilian Navy ordered two NAPA 500-class offshore patrol
vessels (OPVs) based on the Vigilante 400 CL 54 design from French shipbuilder
CMN Group. Displacing 477 tons the ships are being built locally at Brazil’s INACE
(Industria Naval do Ceara SA) yard at Fortaleza and were due for delivery in 2009.
A further 4 OPVs have been approved, with a total of eight ships planned.
The aircraft carrier “Sao Paulo” is the only vessel of this kind in service in South
America. Recent reports about plans to acquire and modify some S-2 aircraft for
ASW and AEW roles, as well as to upgrade the AF-1 SKYHAWK jet fighter bombers
for a guided weapons capability including anti-ship missiles, indicate intentions to
develop the potential of this ship.
Brazil is on its way to deploy a fleet including an impressive submarine force by the
end of the next decade. It will be made up of nine modern and capable dieselelectric
boats, including the “Tupi” and “Tikuna” class, which are going to be fitted
with a new combat system provided by Lockheed Martin and Mk48 heavyweight

On 15th October 2008, Chile’s government-owned shipyard Astilleros y Maestranzas
de la Armada (ASMAR) launched the second of 4 patrulleros de zona maritime
(PZM) OPVs under the Chilean Navy’s Danubio IV project. The 1,850 ton boats are
destined to patrol Chile’s extensive Pacific and Antarctic waters providing protection
in the EEZ and a SAR capability. The 80m PZMs are powered by Wartsila engines
to give a speed of 20kt and a range of 8,600nm. Armaments consist of a 40mm
naval gun and machine guns. The ships can support a 322C Cougar helicopter and
two 7m rigid inflatable boats (RIB). The first ship, Piloto Pardo, was commissioned
in June 2008 with the second ship, Policarpo Toro, due to handover in early 2009.

2 OPVs are reportedly being built for delivery in 2012.
Plans to acquire 1 OPV. Modernisation of both Type 209 Submarines is planned.
Replacement of the 2 Leander Class Frigates is reportedly under consideration.
2 Oaxaca class OPVs are being built, for commissioning in 2010. A further 2 are
Replacement of the Submarine Flotilla is under consideration. Up to 3 LSLs are

Plans to acquire 1 OPV.

Navantia is building four 2,400 ton POVZEE (Patrullero Oceanico para la Vigilancia
de la Zona Economica Exclusiva) OPVs for the Venezuelan Navy at its Puerto Real
shipyard near Cadiz. Construction commenced on the 11th September 2008 with
deliveries expected in 2010-11. They will carry out patrolling tasks in Venezuela’s
EEZ. They will eventually be accompanied by four 76m, 1500 ton Buque de
Vigilancia de Litoral (BVL) coastal patrol ships that Navantia is building for
Venezuela at its San Fernando yard. The first vessel, Guaicamacuto, was launched
on the 16th October 2008 and will commission in 2009 with the remainder to be
delivered by 2011.
Acquisition of 3 new submarines is reportedly under consideration.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

J-14 aircraft hi-res images: