Procurement: February 11, 2004


Chile, which had hoped to spend $700 to build three new frigates, has bowed to budget realities and is instead negotiating with the Netherlands to buy four used frigates for $350 million. The Netherlands, like most European nations, is still shedding expensive Cold War systems. This is producing many attractive bargains for less affluent navies wanting to move up in the combat capability department. Two of the used Dutch frigates are of the L class and were built in 1986 and refurbished in 2000. These ships are optimized for air defense. The other two are M class, are multipurpose and were built in 1993. The L Class displace about 3,750 tons, are 430 feet long and have a crew of 197. Weapons carried include a launcher for 40 Standard SM-1MR surface to air missiles. Also carried are eight Harpoon anti-ship missiles and an eight cell short range Sea Sparrow surface to air missile system. There is a 30mm cannon (Goalkeeper) for last ditch defense against cruise missiles and four torpedo tubes. The M Class displace about 3,300 tons, are 404 feet long and have a crew of 154. The M Class does not carry the Standard missiles, but carries a Lynx helicopter instead (for antisubmarine or anti-patrol boat operations). The frigates Chile planned to build were similar to the L class, but with more modern weapons systems and equipment. But considering what neighboring countries have, the used Dutch frigates are more than adequate. 


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