Procurement: The Forever Frigates


September 7, 2007: Uruguay is buying two elderly Joao Belo class frigates from Portugal for $15 million. The 2,200 ton, 300 foot long ships were built in the late 1960s. They are armed with two 100mm guns and one four cell Exocet anti-ship missile launcher. There are also two 30mm guns and six torpedo tubes. The ships require a crew of 166 sailors. Top speed is 35 kilometers an hour. The Joao Belos are basically identical to the French Comandant Rivière class frigates, and were built in France. The French frigates were retired in the 1990s, and three were sold to
Uruguay. For over a century, it's been common for elderly European (and U.S.) warships to get a second life in South American navies.


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