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Chile aims to acquire two LPDs
José Higuera JDW Correspondent
The commander-in-chief of the Chilean Navy, Admiral Edmundo Gonzalez, has confirmed that the service hopes to acquire two landing platform dock (LPD)-type amphibious assault ships.
The first "multipurpose transport ship", as Adm Gonzalez described it, is expected to be procured by 2012, with a second vessel to be added later.
Adm Gonzalez made no effort to conceal the navy's interest in the French vessel Foudre (L9011), which he said the French government is offering. Sources in Santiago told Jane's that the French authorities have made clear that Foudre's sister ship, Siroco (L9012), will also subsequently be sold and that Chile could be given first option to acquire her.
According to the sources, Italy has hinted that one of its San Giorgio-class ships will be available for transfer in 2014, followed by a sister ship between 2016 and 2017. Singapore is also offering one of its Endurance-class LPDs.
According to Adm Gonzalez, options for the procurement of the second LPD are open and an order for a newly built ship has not been ruled out. Sources have told Jane's that various shipbuilders have expressed an interest in building ships tailored to Chilean Navy requirements, including Spain's Navantia, France's DCNS, Italy's Fincantieri, Germany's TKMS and South Korea's Daewoo.
The case for procuring LPDs has been reinforced by a series of natural disasters, including earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunami that have affected Chile since 2007. Those emergencies called for mass evacuations and the transporting of large amounts of aid.
The acquisition of LPDs is also aimed at increasing Chile's power-projection capabilities and would parallel an expansion of the country's marine infantry force from its current strength of 3,000 to 5,000.
PD: se´stamo´en´el Forno