By Rebecca Edwards, Forecast International
The Brazilian Navy is planning an extensive modernization program for its aircraft carrier, the São Paulo (A 12). The program is intended to extend the ship’s life through the 2030s.
The upgrade is expected to take about four years to complete. Studies into the scope of the program are now underway.
The vessel, originally named the Foch, was acquired from the French Navy and recommissioned in Brazilian service in November 2000.
In May 2005, the vessel suffered a fire in its system of steam pipes. Three years later, the ship finally returned to service in April 2008, but modernization and repair work continued. Back in service, the first stage of inspection, which involved the operation of helicopters from the flight deck, was conducted in November 2011. Modernization work continues to this day.
Meanwhile, in March 2014, the Navy began considering replacement options for the vessel. The Ministry of Defense plans to replace the Navy’s sole aircraft carrier with one built domestically. According to Defense Minister Celso Amorim, construction would take place in Brazil, but the ship would be based on a foreign design acquired through a technology transfer agreement. These are long-term plans, however. Construction is at least another 15 years down the road, Amorim said.