Three Ecuadorian missile corvettes have been returned to service after undergoing modernization and re-powering work by Ecuadorian technicians at shipyard Astinave. The three vessels, the Manabí (CM 12) Los Ríos (CM 13), and Loja (CM 16), were returned to the service in the Navy during a ceremony on November 15.
The three corvettes are part of Ecuador’s Esmeraldas class, which Quito acquired from Italy in the 1970s. The vessels have a displacement of 685 tons and a length of 62.3 meters. They have a top speed of 37 knots and are equipped with Exocet and surface to air missiles along with a 76mm cannon, two 40mm cannons, and torpedo launchers. The fleet has suffered from a lack of spare parts and for a time, the vessels became unseaworthy.
However, beginning in 2014, Ecuador began a $71 million project to recover three of the vessels, including repowering work and the installation of a new combat management system, called “Orion,” which was developed locally. Ecuador’s Ministry of Defense estimates that the country saved $100 million by upgrading older vessels rather than acquiring new ones.