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Ecuador avances in talks to acquire Italian Maestrale-class frigates.


| Naval News Navy 2024

According to information published by Radio Equinoccio on April 24, 2024, the Ecuadorian Navy is reportedly in negotiations to purchase two Maestrale-class frigates, the F 571 Grecale and the F 572 Libeccio, currently in service with the Italian Navy.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Italian Maestrale class frigate Grecale. (Picture source: Italian Navy)


The proposed deal, valued at around 120 million euros, seeks to replace Ecuador's aging Leander-class frigates, the FM 01 BAE Presidente Eloy Alfaro and FM 02 BAE Morán Valverde, which have been sidelined due to prohibitive maintenance and upgrade costs.

As part of the acquisition, Italy would also provide technical support, spare parts supply, and training for the Ecuadorian crews, ensuring a smooth transition and sustained operational readiness.

Comparison

In terms of size and displacement, the Condell class is slightly smaller and less heavy compared to the Maestral class. The latter's increased dimensions and displacement suggest a design that potentially accommodates greater onboard capability or enhanced survivability features for various operational scenarios.

Propulsion technologies between the two classes also show distinct choices. The Condell class employs steam turbines, achieving respectable speed and range, suitable for numerous operational contexts.

In contrast, the Maestral class uses a Combined Diesel Or Gas (CODOG) propulsion system, which not only supports higher speeds but also provides a longer operational range, potentially enhancing mission flexibility and the ability to operate over greater distances.

Armament configurations reveal that the Maestral class has a wider variety of weapons, including advanced surface-to-air missiles, pointing to a capacity to address a broader range of threats. The Condell class, equipped primarily for anti-ship and close-range defense roles, lacks the integrated air defense capabilities present in the Maestral class.

Differences in electronic warfare and sensor systems are also notable. The Maestral class is equipped with more contemporary radar and electronic warfare systems, likely offering improved situational awareness and defensive capabilities against modern threats. The Condell class, equipped with earlier generation technology, may not perform as effectively against current electronic and sensor challenges.


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