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Naval Docks and Yards (Astilleros y Maestranzas de la Armada-- Asmar)

Naval Docks and Yards (Astilleros y Maestranzas de la Armada-- Asmar) was established in 1895, with facilities at Talcahuano and Valparaso. Through the years, a non-stop activity allows the company to maintain the operativity of the Chilean Navy units, and also to obtain the recognition of domestic and foreign shipowners who trust the solution of their needs to the company's shipyards.

The first Chilean Navy Arsenal was established in Valparaiso, base port of the Chilean Navy Fleet, on May 12, 1817, near today's Customs Square. In 1870, they have a workshop and staff including a Second Engineer, a Mechanic, two blacksmithers and three carpenters, and in 1874, a shipbuilder. By the end of the XIX century, the need to repair and maintain the Chilean Navys new vessels motivates the construction of a careening drydock of higher capacity than the existing ones in the country. After several analysis and investigations aimed at developing the most convenient project for the Chilean Navy and the country, on February 20th, 1896, Drydock N1 is inaugurated in the Bajo Marinao area at the Bay of Concepcin, being the Navy Arsenals created.

In Magallanes, the arsenals were originally established from June 1896 in Zenteno Port. In 1900, they were moved to Punta Arenas to an area in Independencia Avenue, and then to 21 de Mayo on February 1st, 1953, starting their activities as the Naval Engineering Sub-Department, depending from the Commander of the Navy Arsenal. This development would prosper some years later to become what we proudly call "The southernmost shipyard of the world". The acquisition of the dreadnought Almirante Latorre by the Chilean Navy motivated the construction of a second drydock of even higher capacity: Drydock N2, inaugurated on July 15th, 1924. Consequently, the capacity of the Chilean Navy Arsenals allowed not only to satisfy the requirements of the Chilean Navy but also of domestic and foreign owners whose vessels sailed along the Eastern South Pacific coast.

Asmar was reorganized on a commercial basis in 1960. On April 6th, 1960, the Chilean Navy Arsenals became ASMAR, Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Company, an autonomous State company aimed at satisfying the maintenance, repair, refit, conversion, upgrading and shipbuilding needs of the Chilean Navy and the national and international Shipowning Community.

In early 1992, Asmar Talcahuano accounted for about 80 percent of the activities of the corporation, despite the recent upgrading of repair facilities at Valparaso and the inauguration of smaller ship repair maintenance facilities at Punta Arenas (the latter operated in collaboration with Sandok Austral of South Africa). With more than 4,500 employees, Asmar Talcahuano has become the largest and most modern shipyard on the Pacific Coast south of California. It has carried out repair and maintenance work for three foreign navies, in addition to its work for the Chilean Navy and Merchant Marine. Asmar has also performed contract work on units of the merchant fleets of such countries as Canada and Denmark.

Over the years, Asmar has built a number of minor vessels for the Chilean Navy and Coast Guard. Extensive modifications were also made to the four County-class missile destroyers purchased from Britain in the early 1980s. A combination of economic difficulties and the ready availability of suitable craft on the secondhand market had, however, prevented the construction of either a projected series of fifty-four-meter patrol craft, for which a license was obtained from Fairey Brooke Marine of Britain in 1988, or the P-400-type fast attack craft, for which a license agreement was negotiated with Chantiers de Normandie in the same year. A project to build at least four submarines was announced in 1990 but had not progressed any further. However, Asmar displayed a humantorpedo -type midget submarine, developed in association with Cosmos of Livorno, Italy, at FIDAE '92.

In early 1992, Asmar's Talcahuano facility was building four patrol boats for the navy, the first of which was scheduled to be in service in 1993. Asmar was also preparing a program for four helicopter-equipped offshore patrol vessels to police Chile's 200- nautical-mile exclusive economic zone.

In addition to its own independent electronics division, Military Manufacturers (Fabricaciones Militares--Fabmil), founded in 1982, Asmar has also established (in 1983) an electronics manufacturing and development subsidiary, Defense Systems (Sistemas Defensas--Sisdef), located in Via del Mar. This firm, a joint venture with Britain's Feranti International, has developed a multipurpose radar system that is equally adaptable to use aboard ship or on land. Asmar itself has produced a naval gunnery control radar, which was fitted aboard the Almirante-class destroyers and other vessels of the Chilean Navy, a mortar-locating radar for the army, and a land-based air early warning radar.

A newer shipyard, founded in 1974 with its facilities located at the mouth of the Ro Valdivia in southern Chile, is Naval Shipyards and Services (Astilleros y Servicios Navales--Asenav), but it seems to only produce commercial products, not military vessels.





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