Chile on track to buy another French assault ship

Discussion in 'Europe and Russia' started by SajeevJino, Jul 3, 2013.

  1. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Long walk Elite Member

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    Chile on track to buy another French assault ship


    The Chilean navy is on track to buy another reconditioned amphibious multirole assault vessel from France, Chilean defense media reported.


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    Purchase of the Sirocco 12,000-ton vessel was delayed through 2012 and this year as the Chilean navy considered various options for equipping Chile's year-old Amphibious Expeditionary Brigade. The force eventually will have at least 1,400 troops in its ranks and an unspecified number of ships, helicopters and armored vehicles.

    President Sebastian Pinera and aides see the expeditionary force as a prestige addition to the military infrastructure, to be used for a range of missions from disaster relief to international peacekeeping under U.N. auspices.

    In 2011 Chile acquired another Sirocco multirole ship from France, previously called the Foudre. The vessel was renamed Sargento Aldea after it entered Chilean naval service and heralded the launch of the Amphibious Expeditionary Brigade.


    Chilean officials have not yet discussed details of the second purchase. The Foudre was sold to Chile for $80 million but it's far from clear if the same price will apply to the second ship. The Foudre was involved in an incident while pursuing French military operations in west Africa in 2009. On Jan. 17 that year, one of the ship's helicopters crashed off the coast of Gabon, killing eight French military personnel. Casualties during the ship's previous operations in Ivory Coast and during the NATO operations in Yugoslavia were not discussed.

    The Sargento Aidea operates out of Valparaiso, Chile's historic transit point for ships operating between the Pacific and the Atlantic via the Magellan Strait. The waterway has assumed strategic importance for Chile as it projects its military and political presence in the Antarctic and surrounding regions.

    Official consideration of the second purchase was also held up amid leadership changes in the Chilean navy. This month Adm. Enrique Larranaga Martin took over as the new naval chief, replacing Admiral Edmundo Gonzalez-Robles. Military analysts say with that change at the top the stage was set for completing the purchase.

    The French navy plans to retire an amphibious assault ship later this year.

    Progress on the Amphibious Expeditionary Brigade has been slow. The Sargento Aidea still is being refurbished and may add more helicopters to its inventory. At full capacity, the Foudre-class vessel can carry up to seven helicopters, about 100 armored vehicles and transport up to 450 troops, Chile's Defense and Military blog said on its website.

    Chile regards the amphibious ships as valuable to its program of developing patrol duties along the Pacific coast, enhancing the ship's role as a hospital on the move to cater for outlying inhabitants along the coast and perform other peacetime security duties.

    There are plans also to acquire more helicopters and armored vehicles.

    Chile would be able to move its Amphibious Expeditionary Brigade many thousands of miles, and be able to support it with armor and logistical units, the blog said.

    "But the brigade still would lack one of the key elements of a true blue water navy: warplanes," it said. Chile has no plans to acquire vertical-takeoff planes such as Harriers to give its marines an air-attack or air-superiority arm. Instead, the brigade is being built to serve as a peacekeeping force, though it certainly could be used in case of armed conflict.

    Former Navy Commander Adm. Gonzalez-Robles said the Foudre's purchase was more than a new acquisition.

    "What we are doing is recovering the capacity we lost when Valdivia after fifteen years in service was decommissioned," he said, citing the former U.S. Navy ship acquired by Chile in 1995 and retired in January 2011.

    Earlier Chile bought a 42,000-ton tanker, Andrew J. Higgins, from the U.S. Navy. Renamed Almirante Montt the vessel replaced AO-53 Araucano, which was decommissioned after 40 years of service.

    Chile on track to buy another French amphibious assault ship - UPI.com
     
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  3. TrueSpirit

    TrueSpirit Senior Member Senior Member

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    Chile always have had decent naval capabilities. But what is their threat perception ? Is it just rivalry with neighboring countries ?
     
  4. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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  5. natarajan

    natarajan Senior Member Senior Member

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    why india didt take any decision on mistral or foudre class
     
  6. TrueSpirit

    TrueSpirit Senior Member Senior Member

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    I believe the second-hand Jalashwa is good enough for now.

    Anyway, we do not really plan any immediate expeditionary campaign. And, for the plans we have, there is reasonably enough offshore-landing capability with us (old Magar class, Ghorpad class)

    Main naval concern is massive depletion in submarine fleet, lessening number of minesweepers, fitting in latest air-defence on existing ships (replacing Osa class with Barak-NG), delay in AC operationalization, etc. Surface combat-fleet otherwise is potent enough for handling regional threats & fulfilling primary objectives of Indian Navy's Sea-Control doctrine.

    Yes, IN is not a blue-water navy yet. Probably, by 2030, IN would be so.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2013
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  7. Dinesh_Kumar

    Dinesh_Kumar Regular Member

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    Navy wanted more Trenton Class ships, was interested. Maybe on the back burner for now. Amphibious Brigade transport can indeed be done with existing ships.

    Indigenous version can be done by India, (less complex than Aircraft Carrier), but shipyard delivering on time is an issue.Even Destroyers(smaller ship than LPD/LHD) take 7-8 years from keel laying to induction by Navy.
     
  8. TrueSpirit

    TrueSpirit Senior Member Senior Member

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    Exactly, not the highest priority.

    All govt. shipyards are packed with orders, no buffer capacity anywhere.

    Maybe, Pipavav or L&T could consider it, being less complex, but Def. Min. needs to allow that possibility, in the first place.

    In India, yes.

    Elsewhere (nations with ship-building tradition), it is a different story, altogether.
     
  9. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    What is Chili trying to do? Invade the Falklands??
     
  10. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    They want Mistral, give it time...
     
  11. TrueSpirit

    TrueSpirit Senior Member Senior Member

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    WG Ewald shared a link. Can we assume all preparedness is to counter socialist regimes in S. America ?
     

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