Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Multirole Ship Purchase a Done Deal?
With the Exponaval show in full force, more signs are emerging that Chile is serious about acquiring a multirole ship. Defense Minister Jaime Ravinet said the navy's only major landing ship, which needs about $15 million in repairs, will be retired. A replacement vessel is being sought, he added. The report in El Mercurio de Valparaiso adds that Chile has apparently settled on buying a Foudre-class ship offered by France, rejecting a competing offer from Italy. Meanwhile, the British are making a push at Exponaval as the Royal Navy tries to sell some of the ships being retired under a major cost-cutting program. The carrier HMS Ark Royal, two landing ships and other vessels are now possibitilies for Chile's acquisition. Twenty British companies are taking part in Exponaval, where the theme of this year's show is transport capabilities. A series of natural disasters, including the February earthquake and a volcano eruption before that, has intensified the need for a ship capable of taking vehicles and aid to areas where roads and airfields are scarce. The navy has specified a need for a ship with roll-on, roll-off ramps, with the ability to carry vehicles and supplies. Such a ship would also serve Chile's peacekeeping missions in other countries.