The Brazilian Navy has decided to retire their only aircraft carrier, the 33,000 ton "Sao Paulo" by mid-2017. The alternative was a refurbishment that would take ten years and cost several hundred million dollars. Brazil plans to eventually build one or two larger (50,000 ton) carriers in Brazil but that won’t happen until the late 2020s. The Navy priorities at the moment are several new submarines (one of them nuclear powered) and a new class of corvettes to protect offshore waters and the new offshore oil and gas deposits. Nothing says “stay away” more convincingly than a quiet and heavily armed submarine.
The Sao Paulo entered service in 2000 after Brazil bought an elderly (entered service in 1963) French aircraft carrier (the Foch, which was still in service) for $12 million, updated it a bit and renamed it Sao Paolo. The Foch was about to decommissioned by the French (and used mainly to train carrier pilots) when Brazil bought it. But the elderly ship was in need of repairs that finally (after several equipment failures) began in 2005 and were not completed until 2010. Buying the Foch allowed Brazil to retire the 20,000 ton "Minas Gerais", in 2001. This was a World War II era (British) Colossus Class carrier that have served Brazil since the early 1960s. The Sao Polo has a crew of 1,900 and was designed to carry 35 warplanes (smaller, older models like the A-4) and four helicopters. This load can vary depending on aircraft type. The current force of A-4 jets and helicopters on the Sao Paolo will be transferred to a naval airbase.