Sunday, June 4, 2017

Navy Starts Shopping For New Subs; Deal Could Be Largest Ever

The Navy took the first steps to acquire two submarines to replace its Type 209 subs, which are nearing the end of their service life. Plans are to select a winning bid by 2020 and have the new subs operational in 2025, Jane's reports. By then, the older of the two Type 209s in Chile's Navy will be retired. Both Type 209s are already more than 30 years old. The SS Thomson was launched in 1984 and the SS Simpson in 1982. A new electric-diesel submarine typically runs about $500 million, which means the contract for two new subs could top $1 billion. It would easily be the most expensive military acquisition in Chile's history. Submarines, though, are valuable naval assets because of their stealth. Chile's two other submarines, a pair of Scorpene boats, were acquired for less than $500 million, a bargain that Chile obtained because it was the launch customer for the Scorpene. There won't be such luck with the next pair of submarines, and a future president will be faced with Chile's first billion-dollar military decision. Also by 2025, the two L-class air defense frigates will be nearly 40 years old and due for replacement. Those won't be cheap, either.