Chilean fleet recently acquired two former Australian frigates

On April 15, 2020, the ceremony of transferring the Chilean Navy to the frigates FFG 05 Melbourne and FFG 06 Newcastle type Adelaida (American type Oliver H. Perry ) from the Australian fleet took place at the Australian naval base Watson in Sydney on Sydney April 15, 2020.

Chilean fleet recently acquired two former Australian frigates 925 002 HMAS Newcastle departs Newcastle Harbour for the last time before decommissioning (Picture source: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jon Dasbach)

Both ships were purchased under the Puente IV program to replace the Chilean fleet of two former Dutch frigates of the Jacob van Heemskerck type (type L) built in the mid-1980s, purchased by Chile in 2005 and included in the Chilean Navy under the same names and airborne numbers FFG 14 Almirante Latorre and FFG Prat 11 Captain. Both of them were withdrawn from the Chilean fleet in December 2019.

The Australian Navy had six frigates of the Adelaida type ( Oliver H. Perry type ), of which four were built in the USA in the early 1980s (all were decommissioned from 2008 to 2017), and the last two were Melbourne and Newcastle were built in Australia under an American license and commissioned in 1992-1993. Both were withdrawn from the Australian fleet in November and June 2019, respectively. It should be noted that in the early 2010s, both of these ships in Australia underwent modernization, with the upgrade of part of electronic and fire weapons and the installation of an additional 8-charge vertical launcher Mk 41 for the ESSM air defense system. Interest in acquiring these two frigates, which are relatively young and in good technical condition, has been expressed by several countries since 2017, including Poland and Greece, but in the end, they were bought by Chile.

The date of arrival of purchased frigates from Australia to Chile is still unknown, since on March 31, coronavirus was detected in 15 Chilean crews arriving in Australia, and now Watson’s base is closed for quarantine. Characteristically, the transfer of frigates did not find any reflection on the official resources of the Chilean Navy.

Chilean fleet recently acquired two former Australian frigates 925 001HMAS Melbourne underway during her North-East Asia deployment (Picture source: Royal Australian Navy)