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Why Does One of the World’s Smallest Navies Want One of the World’s Biggest Warships?
War is Boring ^ | 12/04/2013 | David Axe

Posted on 12/04/2013 9:52:50 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki

Angola’s bizarre, rumored aircraft carrier ambition David Axe in War is Boring Angola is in the process of acquiring the recently-decommissioned Spanish aircraft carrier Principe de Asturias, according to one news report. The entire Angolan navy has just 1,000 sailors. The 643-foot-long Principe de Asturias needs 830 sailors to fully function.

No, this does not make a lot of sense. After all, Angola has no overseas military alliances and no major naval rivals. But if true, it is consistent with the country’s ongoing re-armament, which also includes a squadron of Russian-made heavy jet fighters formerly used by India.

Necessary or not, Angola is potentially buying one of West and Southern Africa’s most powerful military arsenals.

Principe de Asturias commissioned in 1988 and for the next 25 years served as Spain’s flagship, carrying a squadron of Harrier jump jets and helicopters on peacekeeping patrols and training missions.

At just 16,700 tons displacement fully loaded, she’s among the smallest of the world’s aircraft carriers. Many of America’s flattops exceed 100,000 tons displacement. But Principe de Asturias still ranks among the world’s largest and most powerful warships, thanks to her ability to launch jets and helicopters.

While not exactly old, this year Spain replaced the diminutive flattop with a new, jet-compatible amphibious assault ship. Principe de Asturias was to be dismantled this year, but sudden interest from Angolan officials reportedly put that plan on hold. According to Spanish news Website Digital El Confidential, an Angolan delegation visited Ferrol shipyard to inspect the laid-up carrier.

Spanish officials have declined to confirm Angola’s interest. “There are still countries interested in buying the aircraft carrier, but nothing firm,” a government rep said.

Spain will reportedly sell Principe de Asturias to Angola along with four decommissioned patrol ships. The Angolan navy currently possesses only a handful of Russian-made attack craft each weighing in at just a few hundred tons displacement. The Spanish acquisitions, if they are truly more than rumors, will expand the Angolan fleet by an order of magnitude and compel the navy to add thousands of new sailors.

Whether Angola can recruit and train the required personnel is far from certain. It’s equally unclear whether the African state can afford to operate Principe de Asturias on more than a token basis. In 1997, Thailand commissioned a small flattop based on Principe de Asturias’ design but has found it nearly impossible to keep the carrier and her Harriers in front-line service.

In her final years in Spanish service, Principe de Asturias and her planes and copters reportedly cost as much as $100 million a year to operate. Huge and sparsely populated, Angola sits atop vast mineral wealth that accounts for much of the country’s income but is concentrated in the hands of elites.

Angola hasn‘t indicated that it is trying to also purchase helicopters and Harriers to fly from the flattop.

The carrier is not Angola’s only high-profile military acquisition. The developing country is also getting 18 used Su-30 twin-engine fighters from Russia. Previously operated by the Indian air force, the Su-30s were returned to Russia when New Delhi upgraded its air arm. While lacking the latest avionics, the Su-30s are still among the world’s most powerful fighters, roughly equivalent to the U.S. F-15.

As with the Principe de Asturias, it’s far from certain that Angola can recruit pilots and afford to fly the Su-30s. West and Central African states have a strong tradition of paying mercenaries from Ukraine and other European countries to pilot their warplanes.

Besides being wasteful in a country that’s still one of the world’s least developed, Angolan arms acquisitions actually pose a security threat … to Angolans. The main mission of the 100,000-strong armed forces—the army is the largest of the military branches—is to maintain internal security. Angola suffered a decades-long civil war that ended in 2002. Armed groups are still active in the countryside.

But it’s hard to say how exactly an aircraft carrier helps maintain internal security. If Angola really is buying a flattop, it’s anyone’s guess why.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aerospace; angola; carrier; spain

1 posted on 12/04/2013 9:52:50 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Sounds like something Venezuela or Zimbabwe would do.

I think Venezuela has more admirals than ships


2 posted on 12/04/2013 9:54:38 PM PST by GeronL (Extra Large Cheesy Over-Stuffed Hobbit)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Well, if they do buy it and try to operate it on their own, the comedy sure to ensue might be priceless............


3 posted on 12/04/2013 9:55:24 PM PST by doorgunner69
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To: sukhoi-30mki

does Angola have the ability to support this ship? dock it? maintain it?


4 posted on 12/04/2013 9:55:33 PM PST by GeronL (Extra Large Cheesy Over-Stuffed Hobbit)
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To: doorgunner69

the USS Forrestal just sold for a penny... they could have saved some serious cash


5 posted on 12/04/2013 9:56:20 PM PST by GeronL (Extra Large Cheesy Over-Stuffed Hobbit)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Torpedo magnet!


6 posted on 12/04/2013 9:58:58 PM PST by Doomonyou (Let them eat Lead.)
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To: GeronL

Gee, just get the entire Angola navy on board and then sink them with one torpedo.


7 posted on 12/04/2013 10:00:38 PM PST by Bullish (America should yank Obama like a rotten tooth before he poisons the entire body)
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To: Bullish

lol


8 posted on 12/04/2013 10:01:39 PM PST by GeronL (Extra Large Cheesy Over-Stuffed Hobbit)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Straw Man?


9 posted on 12/04/2013 10:01:50 PM PST by Vince Ferrer
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To: Vince Ferrer

Yea, I filled out the paperwork to buy one last week but I couldn’t pass the background check either.


10 posted on 12/04/2013 10:06:24 PM PST by azcap (Who is John Galt ? www.conservativeshirts.com)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Tiny Mouse Makes a Big Splash


11 posted on 12/04/2013 10:07:47 PM PST by bunkerhill7 ("The Second Amendment has no limits on firepower"-NY State Senator Kathleen A. Marchione.")
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To: sukhoi-30mki

It seems their biggest ship to date is approximately one-half the size of one of the US Navy’s Perry class FFGs. WTF? A carrier needs sea room to operate effectively - form a protective bubble around itself, maneuver to launch/recover aircraft, etc. They are not coastal beasts. Yet the Angolans don’t seem to have anything that could go out “blue water” with it. Let alone any kind of ASW or AAW capable ships that could defend a carrier. In short it would rapidly become a very expensive sitting duck, and then shortly thereafter a nice man-made reef for divers.


12 posted on 12/04/2013 10:12:26 PM PST by ThunderSleeps (Stop obarma now! Stop the hussein - insane agenda!)
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To: GeronL

African Bling. Of course they’d have to hire tons of Europeans or Ukranians and such to operate it and if things broke. Gas turbine engines I suppose.


13 posted on 12/04/2013 10:15:46 PM PST by Sheapdog (Chew the meat, spit out the bones - FUBO - Come and get me)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

It’s so cute!!


14 posted on 12/04/2013 10:16:35 PM PST by VeniVidiVici (Play the 'Knockout Game' with someone owning a 9mm and you get what you deserve)
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To: Sheapdog

These things probably require massive shore support too. Can you imagine how big a job it will be to clean the barnacles off the bottom?


15 posted on 12/04/2013 10:24:21 PM PST by GeronL (Extra Large Cheesy Over-Stuffed Hobbit)
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To: Vince Ferrer

My first thought as well.


16 posted on 12/04/2013 10:25:13 PM PST by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both.)
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To: azcap

I got a Chinese jet at Harbor Freight last week but I can’t figure out how to fly it.
That dashboard has a lot of switches and dials, and the instructions are in Chinese.


17 posted on 12/04/2013 10:28:29 PM PST by tumblindice (America's founding fathers: All armed conservatives.)
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To: doorgunner69

The clowns could sell tickets.

The only thing that would be even funnier would be for Nigeria to buy a carrier to protect their oil wealth. They bought a bunch of RV-7s for training airplanes and couldn’t even keep them running as I recall. Nigeria specializes in junk. In Nigeria they have a knack for building brand new stuff, buildings and houses that look ancient and dilapidated when they are finished.


18 posted on 12/04/2013 10:30:16 PM PST by Sequoyah101
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Last week it was announced that Angola was refusing registration of some muhamedan groups and closing illegal mosques. Perhaps they are fearful of ground attacks by irate Muslims and feel the aircraft are safer at sea? Perhaps war with Congo or Zaire?

Very odd indeed.


19 posted on 12/04/2013 10:33:32 PM PST by A Formerly Proud Canadian (I once was lost but now I'm found; blind but now I see.)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Angola ....it was reported...has decided to get rid of all its mosques......good reason to beef up the military. If this report is true I’d like to buy some Angolan imports....what do they import?


20 posted on 12/04/2013 11:03:02 PM PST by TomasUSMC
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To: sukhoi-30mki

What a opportunity to aid the anti-islamics, and all this board has done is insult and denigrate the effort.

Just wow


21 posted on 12/04/2013 11:10:47 PM PST by Don W (Know what you WANT. Know what you NEED. Know the DIFFERENCE!)
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To: sukhoi-30mki
Angola wants an aircraft carrier? Do they have any aircraft to put on it? The entire Angolan Navy is only about 1,000 men of all ranks. The crewing of the Principe de Asturias (R-11) was 90 officers, 465 enlisted + 201 air group and a flag staff of 7. If Angola is serious about this ship, it will consume most of their naval personnel to man it.
22 posted on 12/04/2013 11:13:35 PM PST by MasterGunner01
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To: sukhoi-30mki

LOL

Okey Dokey...

Need carrier group to keep it alive....

Kan’t afford it....


23 posted on 12/05/2013 12:03:56 AM PST by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously-you won't live through it anyway-Enjoy Yourself ala Louis Prima)
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To: TomasUSMC

Why not buy a battlecruiser? That would be impressive too—I am sure their might be a few for sale someplace.


24 posted on 12/05/2013 1:03:57 AM PST by Forward the Light Brigade (Into the Jaws of H*ll)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

With a deck this size just think how many people can fish with their cane poles and their coffee cans full of worms.


25 posted on 12/05/2013 2:16:56 AM PST by Conspiracy Guy (Did the ancients know they were ancients? Or did they see themselves as presents?)
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To: GeronL

“Can you imagine how big a job it will be to clean the barnacles off the bottom?”

Especially without a drydock!


26 posted on 12/05/2013 2:31:12 AM PST by 21twelve (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2185147/posts 2013 is 1933 REBORN)
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To: GeronL

We have more admirals than ships too.


27 posted on 12/05/2013 3:29:07 AM PST by jospehm20 (D)
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To: jospehm20

“To: sukhoi-30mki
Well, if they do buy it...........”....

It will be with our money as a gift from odumbo.


28 posted on 12/05/2013 3:33:44 AM PST by DaveA37
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To: GeronL

The Royal Navy has more admirals than ships!


29 posted on 12/05/2013 3:49:15 AM PST by Riflema
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To: Don W
What a opportunity to aid the anti-islamics, and all this board has done is insult and denigrate the effort. Just wow

Because Angola closed a few mosques they should buy an aircraft carrier? If the trailer park family at your church wins a million dollars in the lottery and tells you they're looking at buying an $800,000 house do you smile and recommend a good landscaper?

The "president" of Angola has been in power since 1979 and was educated in the Soviet Union. Like most of the African dictators he's amassed a large personal fortune in a country that spent most of the last 40 years in civil war. Not the kind of guy you want to lift up as a champion of Western Civilization.

30 posted on 12/05/2013 4:14:36 AM PST by Pan_Yan (Who told you that you were naked? Genesis 3:11)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

That brings to mind Zambia’s space exploration program in the 1960’s. The training of prospective Zambian astronauts included having them crawl into barrels, which were then rolled down a slope, to simulate weightlessness in space.


31 posted on 12/05/2013 7:14:44 AM PST by Fiji Hill (Fight on!!)
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To: jospehm20; Riflema

wow. I didn’t know that.

I wrote a story about a country that only had admirals once. lol


32 posted on 12/05/2013 11:28:55 AM PST by GeronL (Extra Large Cheesy Over-Stuffed Hobbit)
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To: Fiji Hill
Kinds of sounds like the NASSA training.


33 posted on 12/05/2013 11:57:52 AM PST by Rebelbase (Tagline: optional, printed after your name on post)
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To: Rebelbase

LOL!


34 posted on 12/05/2013 12:34:45 PM PST by Fiji Hill (Fight on!!)
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To: Pan_Yan
The "president" of Angola has been in power since 1979 and was educated in the Soviet Union. Like most of the African dictators he's amassed a large personal fortune in a country that spent most of the last 40 years in civil war. Not the kind of guy you want to lift up as a champion of Western Civilization.

Angola's flag:

35 posted on 12/05/2013 12:39:33 PM PST by Fiji Hill (Fight on!!)
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To: Pan_Yan
The "president" of Angola has been in power since 1979 and was educated in the Soviet Union.

There was one other leader that banned Islam in his country: Albania's Enver Hoxha, but I seriously doubt anyone here would want to emulate his rule.

36 posted on 12/05/2013 12:42:46 PM PST by dfwgator (Fire Muschamp. Go Michigan State!)
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To: doorgunner69
Well, if they do buy it and try to operate it on their own, the comedy sure to ensue might be priceless...

The words "amateur" and "aircraft carrier landing" usually don't go together, unless they're attached to "flaming disaster". But it'd be a great reality TV show.

37 posted on 12/05/2013 12:50:27 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: GeronL
Sad. Count 'em. I only see 26 surface combatants according to their site: Rule Britannia?
38 posted on 12/05/2013 1:38:15 PM PST by Riflema
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To: Riflema

I did not know they had fallen so low. Wow.

Welfare states can’t afford it I guess. Gotta house and feed all those 3rd world immigrants that Labour opened the door for and Tories never closed.


39 posted on 12/05/2013 1:40:54 PM PST by GeronL (Extra Large Cheesy Over-Stuffed Hobbit)
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To: Billthedrill

“amateur” and “White House” are two words that have been associated for at least 6 years now.


40 posted on 12/05/2013 1:41:31 PM PST by GeronL (Extra Large Cheesy Over-Stuffed Hobbit)
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To: GeronL

LOL - yeah, and with some other words that would probably get me banned forever...


41 posted on 12/05/2013 1:42:32 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: Billthedrill

South Korea has a bigger navy than the UK, insane.


42 posted on 12/05/2013 1:45:48 PM PST by GeronL (Extra Large Cheesy Over-Stuffed Hobbit)
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