Friday, February 17, 2017

Brazil has an aircraft carrier?

It wasn’t long ago that Brazil planned to retrofit its vintage aircraft carrier Sao Paulo to last until 2039. No longer.

Instead, Brazil will retire the old girl during the next three years, according to a report in IHS Jane’s. With Argentina having given up on carriers, Brazil’s decision will leave the United States with the only operational carriers in the Western Hemisphere (yeah, who's your daddy now?).
Sao Paulo was originally the Foch, a Clemenceau-class carrier which first launched in 1960. If you were a sailor on board the Foch, you were known at sea as a Focher - very embarrassing for the frogs, but a never ending source of amusement and snickering for the limeys.  During her 40 years in service with the French navy, Foch’s air wings dodged (as opposed to shooting down) Yemeni MiGs, intervened in the Lebanese civil war and bombed Serbia during the Kosovo conflict.
France sold Foch to Brazil in 2000, and the renamed Sao Paulo carried out exercises and launched Brazil’s AF-1 Skyhawk attack planes from her flat, catapult-launch deck — similar to U.S. carriers and the Charles de Gaulle, France’s sole remaining fleet carrier.  At least it really was a flat top, and not one of those embarrassing ski jump models some silly nations still seem to favor.

  Here the Sao Paulo sails along with the USS Ronaldus Magnus in 2004.

Brazil is in the process of receiving sophisticated Gripen fighter jets from Sweden. And Saab, the Gripen’s manufacturer, has touted the possibility of developing a future carrier-launched Sea Gripen if it can find a buyer.  Do it, Brazil!  I'd like to see a Sea Gripen ( or should that be Kraken) launch off a carrier.


  1. Brazil fell on hard times and it takes a lot of cash, a lot of trained people, and a lot of national effort to operate an aircraft carrier and it's integral squadron(s).

    All indications are that the US will begin to build CVL's during the Trump Administration - something more in the Clemenceau's tonnage range. They won't replace the big decks, but will work as regional deterrent and support with the CV's taking on a more strategic role. We will also build more submarines - because there are only subs and targets on the ocean.

  2. Read where a few years ago that the Chinese went to the San Paulo to learn about operating a carrier.
    That has probably flattened there learning curve saving them time and lives with their carriers and air wings.