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Marinha Portuguesa / Navy of Portugal - Modernization

The Portuguese navy embarked on a modernization program focused on a specific set of capabilities defined in the 2003 Defense Strategic Concept. As of 2005 it was planned that more than 80 percent of the Portuguese navys aging ships would be replaced, and the navy will acquire new vessels, such as a landing platform dock (LPD) ship. This expeditionary capability would be able to project and sustain a battalion-size marine force or similar army forces.

The three existing helicopter-carrying guided-missile frigates (FFGHs) and one auxiliary oiler replenishment vessel (AOR) would be retained, and two new anti-aircraft capable FFGHs, two new SSG-AIP air-independent propulsion attack submarines would be acquired. For the navys coast guard roles, major programs focus on a new class of 10 offshore patrol vessels (OPVs). Their coverage will include maritime surveillance, fishery patrol and pollution control tasks within the countrys national exclusive economic zone. In addition, a new class of five coastal patrol vessels will be dedicated mainly to law enforcement and fishery patrol.

In March 2005 it was reported that the Portuguese Ministry of Defense had signed a contract with ENVC shipyard for the construction of one Schelde Enforcer-class landing platform, dock (LPD). The project, worth $277.9 million, calls for the new ship to be in service by 2010 and included an estimated six landing craft, utility (LCU) as part of the contract. The cproject was part of the offset agreement from the April 2004 submarine contract in which the Portuguese Navy (PN) signed a construction contract with the German Submarine Consortium for two Type-U209PN submarines, with an option for a third. That contract included provisions for an LPD design to meet the PNs specifications, including 30 main battle tanks or 90 armored personnel carriers.

Portugal expected to earn 110 million euros ($140 million) by 2011 from the sale of 28 helicopters [10 Pumas and 18 Alouette III] and two frigates, Defense Minister Luis Amado said 01 June 2006.

Portugal used a US excess defense article (EDA) budget to order two used frigates. But on 12 October 2006 the Government of Portugal formally renounced any claim to the two Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates - USS George Philip (FFG12) and USS John Sides (FFG14), commissioned for just 22 years - offered through the Excess Defense Article (EDA) program. The stated reason was the dire need to equip the Portuguese Navy with ships that possess the most uniform logistical and operational requirements; Portugal sought alternative solutions for the replacement of the Joao Belo class frigates. The US Navy was decommissioning Perry-class frigates because their role of anti-submarine warfare and protecting amphibious warships and convoys was being taken over by new littoral combat ships and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

Under pressure from European states, the MOD chose to spend over 300 million euros on used frigates from the Netherlands. The US EDA frigates would have required only approximately 100 million euros in refit and logistics support. The "study" that led the MOD to choose the Dutch frigates compared used U.S. frigates to new Dutch frigates, even though the Dutch ships were more than 15 years old. They also counted the 100 million euro refit and logistics expense as a "cost" while only counting the hull cost of the Dutch frigates in the price comparison.

The Portuguese LPD presented in 2008 (TKMS MRD) was a "classic" LPD - 650 troops, 4 LCUs, 2 helo spots, 580 lane meters; additional capability Joint Operations Center (for amphibious operations) and medical support.

In March 2009 the Minister of Defense announced changes in the program of Oceanic Patrol vessel. The order was reduced from six to two or four ships [versus the ten projected in 2005]. Joint planning of acquisition programs was started by Paulo Portas, when he was Minister of national defence, and was embodied in a publication designated "50 programs that will change the armed forces", in 2003 - the first time that the armed forces were equipped with a long-term plan. Ocean patrol vessels were part of this package, with the initial order shipyards in Viana do Castelo (ENVC) two NPO, a program that would be extended to a total of six vessels, as resulted from the resolution of the Council of Ministers No. 183/2004, which established the timing from 2006 to 2015.

However, the initial 2004 contract with ENVC involved just two ships, and five years later not a single vessel had been delivered, the process had already been postponed three times. The latest timetable foresaw that the first NPO was delivered in July 2010, but in fact the Navy only received two units in 2011. First there were problems in the engines, after amendments to the draft by the Navy and the ENVC that were suited to the demands of the Armada. The option for reducing the number of vessels can be linked to a new policy on the part of the fleet to reduce the number of NPO, now giving priority to the construction of five surveillance patrols vessels, with the option for three more, to replace the Corvettes with over 40 years of service.

The Government of Portugal confirmed on 18 September 2012 its intention to cancel the order for a further six ships of the planned eight NPO 2000-type (Navio de Patrulha Ocenica = Oceanic Patrol Vessel). The two on hand would be earmarked for pollution response functions. At the same time the Government also canceled the project of construction of five patrols vessels of 600 tons of displacement, whose construction was also to have been carried out by the ENVC-Estaleiros Navais de Viana do Castelo.

Besides high seas patrol vessels and coastal patrols, the Portuguese Navy urgently needs a new replenishment ship, and an LPD type logistical support vessel. In November 2018, the Council of Ministers approved the proposed Military Programming Law (LPM - Lei de Programao Militar) for the period 2019/2030, which provides for an investment of 4.74 billion euros. The parliament debated 23 January 2019 the proposal of the Government of Military Programming Law, which foresaw investments of 4.74 billion euros in the reequipment of the Armed Forces until 2030. Six new Ocean Patrol Vessels, worth 352 million euros, a Multipurpose Logistic Ship with a forecast of 300 million euros, a Replenishing Ship with 150 million euros, new tactical transport aircraft , with a forecast of 827 million euros , evacuation helicopters with 53 million euros and the individual equipment of the soldier, worth 45 million euros, are some of the main projects.




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