The Brazilian Navy has taken delivery of its first LAR-E light fast attack craft from the Base Naval de Val-de-Cães (BNVC) shipyard as its Navy modernises and buys more equipment. The vessel will be used to patrol lakes and rivers near the border with Argentina and Paraguay.
The LAR-E (Lancha de Ação Rápida – Especial) weighs 3 tonnes, is 7.60 meters long, 2.60 meters wide, can carry a payload of 560 kg and has a top speed of 40 knots. It has a range of 300 nautical miles.
The boat has a weapon mount for 7.62 mm and 12.7 mm machine guns or a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher, in addition to having firing ports with ballistic armour installed by local company Centigon Blindagens do Brasil (of Carat Security Group).
Officials said the LAE-E will be operated by the Foz do Iguacu port authority that looks after the Itaipu Lake, part of the giant Itaipu hydro-electric dam, which feeds electricity into the power grids of the three countries.
The first LAR-E was delivered to the Brazilian Navy on January 2. According to Janes, the LAR-E programme could see the construction of more than 300 units for the navy (Marinha do Brasil/MB), army and federal police.
The Brazilian Navy has launched a vast expansion programme in a continuation of the effort begun under former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Brazil’s navy is the largest in Latin American, with around 60 000 personnel, 98 ships and 89 aircraft. However, more craft and naval aviation units will be added, United Press International reports, especially to monitor the Atlantic coast.
At the beginning of this month, BAE Systems announced that the Brazilian Navy had signed a contract worth £133 million with for the supply of three Ocean Patrol Vessels. The contract also contains a Manufacturing Licence to enable further vessels of the same class to be constructed in Brazil.
The three 90 metre vessels, originally constructed for the Government of Trinidad & Tobago, will provide the Brazilian Navy with enhanced maritime capability in the near term, pending the acquisition of future ships under its PROSUPER programme (Brazil’s current surface ship acquisition plan). The first two ships will be delivered in 2012 and the third will follow in early 2013.
Under the PROSUPER programme, Brazil will construction another five Ocean Patrol Vessels of around 1 800 tonnes.
The Ocean Patrol Vessels are capable of speeds in excess of 25 knots and weigh 2 200 tonnes fully loaded. With a 30 mm cannon and two 25 mm guns, as well as a helicopter flight deck and a rigid inflatable boat, the ships are ideal for performing maritime security roles in Brazil’s territorial waters.
Designed to accommodate a crew of up to 70, with additional accommodation for 50 embarked troops or passengers and ample deck space for container storage, the vessels are also effective for search and rescue and disaster relief operations.