Colombia Unveils Future Frigate Requirements

By Rebecca Edwards, Forecast International.

FS 1500 Almirante Padilla class

FS 1500 Almirante Padilla class due for replacement.

The Colombian Navy has unveiled requirements for its future fleet of frigates.

The acquisitions are part of the Navy’s “Force Planning 2030.” The plan aims to strengthen the institution’s control over Colombia’s coastlines through the establishment of an integrated coastal surveillance radar system and the acquisition of eight strategic surface platforms weighing between 3,000 and 5,000 tons.

The new frigates will replace the Navy’s existing fleet of FS 1500 Almirante Padilla class ships, which are slated for retirement in 2024/2025.

According to naval commander Adm. Hernando Wills, the Navy is seeking multimission frigates that can operate anywhere in the world, but particularly in the Atlantic and the Pacific, independently or as part of a task force in time of peace or war, during high-intensity conflicts, and under multiple threats.

The frigates should be equipped with long-range vertical launch systems (VLS) for air defense, surface warfare systems, missiles with ranges greater than 180 kilometers, anti-submarine warfare systems, and sonar with a variable depth and a scope of 4,000-7,000 nautical miles. The vessels should have a range of approximately 30 days and be able to maintain a speed of approximately 27-30 knots. The vessels should in addition be designed with a low radar signature.

The Navy will formulate a conceptual design by 2016 and launch a contractual design by 2017. The ships will be purchased in two batches of four and four. The goal is to have the first vessel in service by 2022 and the entire fleet fully operational by 2027.