SS-23 O´Higgins (Scorpene type)
In the early years of the 1990s the Navy submitted an RFP for two new submarines these were to be oceanic boats of at least 1,400 tons. These were to be new build boats with the latest technology and the budget given was US$ 400M. The race quickly decanted between the Type 209 (already in service) and the French/Spanish Scorpène CM 2000. A new comer was the offer from the British Navy of the four Upholders recently retired after very little use.
Even thought the Upholder class is very modern and the deal was a bargain a number of stated and unstated reasons conspired against it. First, this was a system which was not going to be in service with any other navy in the world prompting questions around support and spare parts in 30 years more. Second, the stated goal of the Chilean Navy in general and ASMAR in particular is to manufacture the next generations of submarines in Chile which is not an option with the Upholder offer. Given the current state of low regional tensions there is no pressing need for the submarines and more longer term goals of self resilience could be pursued.
The contract signed in December 1997 between the Navy of Chile and the Consortium Franco - Spanish, DCN - Bazan (today day NAVANTIA) determined the construction of two submarines class "Scorpene", which were destined to replace the ancient of the class "Oberon" that with 30 years of outstanding service, had already served their useful life.
After a process of building shared between both shipyards, the 23 of October of the year 2003 the first two units, was launched to water in Cherbourg, France, O'Higgins, insofar as his christening took place on the same port on 1 November of that year. O'Higgins name in tribute to the Captain General don Bernardo O'Higgins Riquelme, whose heroismo during the period of national independence have made him worth up today the title of "Father of the nation"; his vision of Chile as oceanic country led him to create the first squadron of warships national.
In 2004, initially the port in Cherbourg, then continue with an extensive program on the sea, which took place in waters of the Gulf of Viscaya, having as port base the city of Lorient. It should be noted that the manning of test during this period consisted of only Chilean Naval personnel who were previously subjected to a demanding training that covered all areas of performance aboard.
The period of testing was finished on National Pavilion day on September 9, 2005 with the presence of Mr. Ministro of national defence, Commander in Chief of the Navy and Spanish and French authorities. Later on 17 October begins its transit to the homeland, after 51 days of sailing saturates at the port of Valparaiso and December 12 definitely joined the Bay of Concepción and its port base of Talcahuano.
|Displacement, full||1.700 tons|
|GT (Gross Tonnage)||tons|
|NT (Net Tonnage)||tons|
|Length, O/A||66 meters / feet|
|Length, W/L||meters / feet|
|Length, B/P||meters / feet|
|Max Beam||6.2 meters / feet|
|Draft||5.5 meters / feet|
|Height||meters / feet|
|Number of Main Engine(s)|
|Main Engine builder|
|Main power||2.9 MW|
|Speed, maximum|| 11 Knots surfaced |
21.5 knots Submergerd
|Range||nautical miles at knots|
|Weapons Systems||6 21" torpedo tubes|
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