Saturday, November 8, 2014

Chile OK's Construction of 4th Off-Shore Patrol Vessel

Marinero Fuentealba
The Navy will build a fourth off-shore patrol vessel, just as the third was launched. Defense Minister Jorge Burgos confirmed the acquisition Nov. 6, noting that will be the fourth OPV in a program that envisions as many as five such vessels. Two of the Fassmer OPV 80-class boats are already in service. The third was launched the same day of Burgos' announcement. The Marinero Fuentealba is a bit different than its sister ships, sporting a larger 76mm gun and a reinforced hull for operation in the icy waters of the south of Chile. OPV 81 Piloto Pardo went into service in 2007 and OPV 82 Comandante Toro in 2009. With a crew of 32 and endurance of up to 30 days, the 1,700-ton ships are an efficient way for Chile's Navy to cover its extensive territorial waters. Each also has equipment for environmental and search and rescue missions. The program has been one of the most successful for Asmar, the Navy-operated shipyard that is getting back on its feet after getting decimated in the February 2010 tsunami.

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