Between next September and January 2008 Chile will be incorporating three former Royal Navy Type 23 frigates, HMS Norfolk, HMS Grafton and HMS Marlborough.
HMS Norfolk under the name of "Almirante Cochrane" will be transferred next September 2006; in April 2007 HMS Grafton becomes "Almirante Lynch" and in January 2008, HMS Marlborough becomes "Almirante Condell". All three frigates have been involved in South Atlantic and Falklands' patrolling.
By 2008 the Chilean Navy will have renewed her surface fleet with four former Royal Navy frigates, the above mentioned and the former HMS Sheffield already on service, plus four new Dutch built frigates. The renovation also includes two brand new submarines jointly built in France and Spain, one of which has been delivered and a second which is finishing sailing tests and will officially fly the Chilean colours this month.
With that purpose Chile's Defence Minister Vivianne Blanlot left this weekend for Holland, Spain and finally United States to meet with US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld.
Next Monday in Holland Ms Blanlot will be present at the commissioning ceremony of L Class frigate "Capitan Prat", the third of the four built in Dutch shipyards.
In Spain Ms Blanlot will meet with her Spanish counterpart Jose Antonio Alonso Suarez and King Juan Carlos in the Zarzuela Palace and on July 20 in Cartagena will deliver the Chilean colours to the Scorpone Class, French-Spanish built submarine "SS Carrera".
The Chilean Navy Puente II renewal project includes two multipurpose M Class frigates and two anti-aircraft L Class frigates built in Dutch yards with the last delivery planned for April 2007. The first two frigates, "Blanco" and "Latorre" have already been incorporated to the Chilean Navy, the next in "Capitan Prat" this month and the last "Riveros" which should be arriving in Chile in August 2007.
The L Class frigates have a 3.750 tonnage, 130 metres long, gas turbine powered with a crew of 197 and no landing deck. The M Class displaces 3.320 tons, is 122 metres long, gas turbine or diesel powered with a crew of 156 and a landing deck.
The Chilean Navy Neptune project includes the purchase of two new conventional submarines, Scorpone Class to replace the Oberon Class, "Hyatt" and "O'Brien". The first submarine "SS O'Higgins" (French built) was delivered December 2005 and the second unit "SS Carrera" (Spanish built) should be arriving in the second half of this year.
Scorpone class submarines displace 1.570 tons submerged, are 63.5 metres long, can reach 21 knots and 300 metres depth, and remain 50 days submerged. They carry a crew of 31 and are armed with 18 conventional torpedoes in six launchers.