Hello, Atlantico

The social media feed for the Marinha do Brasil, Brazil’s navy, has been off the hook this week as the country turned out to legit welcome into Rio de Janeiro the current fleet flagship, the brand new (to Brazil) amphibious assault ship NAeL Atlântico (AND 140). Formerly the British amphibious assault ship HMS Ocean (L-12).

The 21,500-ton LPH was built at Vickers, commissioning in 1998. In December 2017, the Brazilian Navy confirmed the purchase of the ship for £84.6 million– a comparative bargain when compared to new construction.

She left Royal Navy service on 27 March 2018, with the Brazilians arriving the month before to do a warm transfer. She commissioned in Portsmouth under the green Brazilian banner in June and has been working up in European waters with British advisors for the past several weeks.

As noted by Naval Recognition: “The helicopter carrier package for Brazil includes an Artisan 3D search radar, KH1007 surface surveillance radar system, four 30 mm DS30M Mk 2 remote weapon systems and four Mk 5B landing craft. However, the three original 20 mm Mk 15 Block 1B Phalanx close-in weapon systems, the torpedo defense systems and 7.62 mm M134 machine guns were removed from the ship.”

Atlantico was greeted offshore of Brazil by two Super Cougars, two recently modified Sikorsky SH-16 Seahawk multirole helicopter (a local designation for S-70B), and two Bell 206 Jet Rangers (who normally serve as plane guards with divers aboard and fill liaison roles), which were arrayed on her flight deck as she entered Rio (as no one likes to see a brand new carrier with an empty deck.)

She is designated a PHM in Brazilain service, standing for Porta-Helicópteros Multipropósito or multi-purpose helicopter carrier.

She arrived in Rio on 25 August and is expected to be fully operational by 2020.

Note the fleet behind her on parade

The Marinha do Brasil has been continually in the flattop business since they bought the WWII vintage 19,980-ton light carrier HMS Vengeance (R71) from the British in 1956 (a ship nominally smaller than Atlântico). Following a four-year reconstruction in Holland, that ship joined the Brazilian fleet as NAeL Minas Gerais and was the first aircraft carrier purchased by a Latin American nation.

Brazilian Navy aircraft carrier Minas Gerais in 1966

Gerais gave 40 years of hard service to the Brazilians flying A-4 Skyhawks and S-2 Trackers until she was replaced by the French Clemenceau-class aircraft carrier Foch, which was commissioned as NAeL São Paulo in 2000. However, the 32,000-ton French flattop, now some 54-years young, has been a maintenance nightmare and the Brazilians announced last year that they were moving to condemn her.

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