Surface Forces: May 8, 2002


The Chilean Navy has shrunk to its lowest level in a century, having only six frigates and destroyers in service. Chile was negotiating to buy some British Type-22/2 frigates but walked out when Britain allowed former General Pinochet to be arrested. The Navy next selected a German frigate design (eliminating some of the more expensive systems, such as towed sonar), and asked the government to pay to build eight of them locally. When the government refused, the Navy asked for funds to buy four of the ships, but interest rates on 20-year loans for the ships would increase their price by 32 percent. Germany has offered a lower price on the MEKO-A200 but only if the ships are built in Germany, and other European countries are offering similar deals. The Chilean Navy is still shopping for used ships, evaluated some Dutch vessels (Kortenaers and Heemskercks) and even the British Type-22/3.--Stephen V Cole


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