Vasco da Gama
With the 1980 promulgation of a directive by the Chairman of the General staff of the Armed Forces which considered an urgent priority the acquisition of three new frigates for the Navy, the Portuguese Government initiated an evaluation project for the construction of these naval ships.
In 1985, after long and intensive studies, the Government gave the green light for the construction of three frigates of the "Meko 200" type (class "Vasco da Gama"), giving the Portuguese Navy the responsibility for the management of the contract and its respective contractors.
These frigates are modern ships, endowed with armaments and highly sophisticated radars using point military technology. For the first time in its history, the Portuguese War Navy will possess naval units able to face a multitude of threats on the sea. Also, for the first time, a Portuguese naval unit will be equipped with systems capable of launching of surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles.
The ship also incorporates innovations to the command system and weapons and radars, communications, propeller system, etc..
Each ship has two A/S war helicopters, attributed to it. Being an integral part of the ship, they allows the maximum usage of its capacities of anti-submarine warfare.
The project allows Portugal to consolidate its naval projection with its capabilities policy through a still more than adequate operational response, integrating these frigates into the national navy or attributing them, when convenient, within a naval force in the scope of NATO or of some other existing organizations already existing or to be created in the future.
Within the scope of the oceanic suface capabilities, primordial vector for the control of the sea, the following programs are distinguished: Procurement of three frigates of the "Vasco da Gamma" class, between 2007 and 2012, data that in 2010-2011 complete 20 years of job, that will allow to extend its useful life up to 2030, and the attainment of more three organic helicopters of this classof ships, after 2007.
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