Following the suspension of a billion US dollars plan to renew the surface fleet, the Chilean Navy is now preparing to purchase second hand frigates intended to replace its aging vessels, the newest of which is 28 years old.
The "Frigate" Project will replace the Trident Project and is geared to the immediate incorporation of two second hand frigates not older than 15/20 years, and in a second stage advance with the original plan to build some of the new units in Chile.
The one billion US dollars Trident Project contemplated the building in Chilean shipyards of six to eight German designed MEKO 200 in a fifteen years span.
According to Chilean Navy sources Italy, United States, Holland have already offered decommissioned vessels and Germany and Spain are offering the newest models of their Meko 200 and F-100.
However the American offer so far is the most tempting since they would be given at no cost and include two Oliver Hazzar Perry frigates and two Spruance destroyers.
But if the purchase or acquisition is to be linked to a future building of similar vessels in Chile, the option boils down to Germany, France and Britain.
Chilean Navy sources indicated that the Royal Navy will in the coming months have four units of its surface fleet of frigates and destroyers available for sale and less than 15 years old.
Although the frigates would be the Type 22, Chileans are not counting out the Type 23.Chile's Defence Minister Michelle Bachelet promised the Navy that a decision on the issue will be forthcoming before the end of the year.