The Brazilian Navy’s sole aircraft carrier, the only vessel of its type in Latin American service, is to be decommissioned, according to a statement from the Brazilian Ministry of Defense.
NAe São Paulo (A12), which originally served the French Navy as Foch, is now considered a low priority for the Brazilian Navy, which says it will no longer go to sea.
According to a statement from the Directorate of Communications and Information Technology of the Navy, ‘After several attempts to recover the operational capacity of the São Paulo, the Admiralty concluded that a modernization program would require high financial investment, contain technical uncertainties and would require a long completion period.’
Instead, the Navy has decided to decommission the carrier over the next three years.
‘A program to obtain a new aircraft and aircraft carrier package will occupy the Navy’s third acquisition priority’, the statement continued. Instead, priority turns to the nuclear submarine program and the Tamandaré corvette construction program.
It is noted that the cost of these two programs will be substantially lower than that of the modernization of the São Paulo, which would also involve obtaining new aircraft to replace the former Kuwaiti AF-1 Skyhawk carrier fighters now in use.
São Paulo was incorporated into the Brazilian Navy in 2000, replacing the former Minas Gerais light aircraft carrier.
Although it already had 37 years of active service at the time of acquisition, the vessel fulfilled its mission in its first years of activity with the Brazilian fleet, enabling the Navy to qualify pilots in operating high-performance carrier aircraft.
‘Regrettably, the feasibility studies of this [modernization] program indicate a long period for its completion, approximately 10 years, in addition to technical uncertainties and high costs’, the Navy statement concluded.
Once the carrier is withdrawn, the Brazilian Navy plans to continue to train for fixed-wing aviation naval warfare, training pilots both locally and abroad.