Brazil one step closer to staying in the (kinda) flattop club
The Brazilian Navy is seeking to commission the UK Royal Navy’s HMS Ocean landing platform helicopter (LPH) by June 2018, the navy told Jane’s on 6 December.
The navy is authorized to negotiate with the United Kingdom towards a GBP84.6 million (USD113 million) procurement. Prior to receiving the ship, maintenance and training activities would be done in the United Kingdom.
The 22,000-tonne Ocean, in Brazilian service, could host the Navy’s Super Cougar, Super Puma, Super Lynx, and Sea Hawk naval helicopters.
As I talked about in April, such a move would keep the Marinha do Brasil with a flattop of some sort– even though it is a helicopter carrier- long after the looming retirement of the 32,000-ton NAe Sao Paulo (A12) (ex-Foch) which in turn replaced the elderly NAe Minas Gerais (ex-HMS Vengeance), thus keeping the force as one of just a handful of navies that have been operating large bluewater aircraft handling platforms since for over 60 years.
Further, Ocean will be the only LPH in Latin America and the only ship native to the continent capable of operating more than 2-3 aircraft at a time.
Meanwhile, the UK is howling that the current government is not only getting rid of the cream of the RN’s amphibious capability as the rest of the fleet is similarly neglected, but also that the Army could be forced to “get by” with a 50,000-man force, down from the current 80,000 (which is down from 168,000 in 1991). It would be the smallest British Army since the general drawdown of the late 1780s following the end of the Revolutionary War and before the Napoleonic Wars kicked off. Even Cromwell’s New Model Army by 1650 was larger than that and he only had a population of about 5 million (compared to 55 today!)