Brazilian Navy decommissions amphibious assault ship "Mattoso Maia"Brazilian Navy decommissions amphibious assault ship "Mattoso Maia"

Brazilian Naval Force plans to decommission 43 ships by 2028

By Agência Marinha de Notícias – Rio de Janeiro, RJ

After almost 30 years in service with the Brazilian Navy (MB), the Combat Carrier Landing Ship (NDCC – Navio de Desembarque de Carro de Combate) “Mattoso Maia”, ex-USS Cayuga, of the US Navy, left the Active Service of the Navy, in a Disarmament Show ceremony held today (7) at the Rio de Janeiro Naval Base, in Niterói (RJ), which was attended by members of the Admiralty and former Commanders of the ship.

This is the fourth ship to be decommissioned from the Brazilian Fleet in 2023 alone, when the “Tamoio”, “Tapajó” and “Timbira” submarines were also decommissioned. By 2028, the Brazilian Navy decommissions amphibious assault ship “Mattoso Maia”plans to decommission 43 ships (around 40% of the force’s operational assets), due to the end of their useful lives, when the costs of maintaining them become prohibitive.

The Commander of the Navy, Fleet Admiral Marcos Sampaio Olsen, has been warning about the urgency of renewing the fleet and the need to replenish resources, such as those earmarked for ammunition and fuel, otherwise Brazil will be at a disadvantage against foreign threats.

“The retirement of an asset without the corresponding replacement can lead to a degradation of the Force’s capabilities. Since 2017, there has been a significant budget frustration in the order of R$3.3 billion (approximately 660 million dollars), and it is important to seek to ensure regularity in the Armed Forces’ resources within the proposed financial sustainability of 2% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product), so that the country can recover its capabilities,” noted the Navy Commander.

In an attempt to bridge this budget gap, a PEC (Proposed Amendment to the Constitution) was filed with the Federal Senate in October, with the aim of guaranteeing a budget equal to or greater than 2% of GDP for Defense, observing the reasonableness of a gradual percentage increase (0.1%/year).

The proposal is in line with the current geopolitical scenario, which has encouraged large and medium-sized powers to increase their investments to renew their defense systems. In relation to GDP, over the last ten years Brazil has made an average provision of 1.32%, while other developing countries continue to make progress, such as India (2.4%), Colombia (3%) and Chile (1.8%).

As well as helping to maintain and strengthen our deterrent power, qualifying Brazil’s position on the international stage, the gradual increase in the budget proposed in the “Defense PEC” could yield domestic economic and social dividends. This is due to the PEC’s emphasis on the Armed Forces’ Strategic Programs, which provide for the development and manufacture of systems and equipment on national territory, activities that are intensive in terms of job creation and the development of science and technology.

About the ship

The NDCC “Mattoso Maia” was incorporated into the MB in 1994 and, throughout its history, has gained prominence for providing logistical support in humanitarian actions. The ship could transport up to 3,000 tons of cargo, 70 vehicles, 22 Amphibious Caterpillar Trucks and 350 embarked troops.

During the time it was part of the Brazilian Fleet, the “Mattoso Maia” accumulated the expressive mark of 1,028 days at sea, 1.8 million miles sailed and 65 “amphibious beaching” (when the ship “runs aground” on the beach, in a controlled manner, to land amphibious troops and combat vehicles).

In 2004, it left Rio de Janeiro for Port-au-Prince to contribute to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). The ship remained in the region for another 30 days, providing logistical support to the Peace Force. That same year, the “Mattoso Maia” returned to the Haitian capital carrying more than 160 tons of supplies and 250 marines. The ship visited the continent several times to help reduce the impact of the social conflict in Port-au-Prince.

In addition to MINUSTAH, the NDCC “Mattoso Maia” took part in other commissions, such as: “COBRAVEM” I and II, in which it transported, at the request of the United Nations, material and personnel to Angola, in order to install a Brazilian contingent that would collaborate in restoring peace and national reconciliation in that country; and Operation “Tamandaré”, in which it supported the ceremony of transferring the urns of Admiral Tamandaré and his wife to the city of Rio Grande (RS). Other relevant commissions were: UANFEX, TROPICALEX, ATLÂNTICO, UNITAS, ASPIRANTEX and DRAGÃO.

NDCC “Mattoso Maia” Disarmament Exhibition

The “Mattoso Maia” was discharged from active service with emotion. On the occasion, the acts of discharge and exoneration of the ship’s commander and the Order of the Day of the Chief of Staff of the Navy were read out. This was followed by the last flag ceremony on board the ship.
The exonerated Commander, Sea and War Captain Leonardo Caldas Franco, and the crew disembarked from the “Mattoso Maia”, marching to the sound of the military song “Cisne Branco”. Soon after, the Disarmament Agreement was signed by the authorities present. The ceremony ended with Commander Franco shouting off the last crew of the NDCC “Mattoso Maia”.

Source: Agência Marinha de Notícias

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