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This Is Insane

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Gonna file this under “too crazy to be true”:

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….

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.

I find this very unlikely, but I kinda want it to be true, if only for the social science value. Watching Angola build not only a navy but also a naval aviation branch from scratch would be remarkably interesting. They would almost certainly need to partner with a more experienced nation, but assuming that they’re interested in using the carrier mainly as a helicopter platform there are several choices, including the various European states, China, and Russia. And, as the article implies, this purchase would immediately put Angola at the head of the first rank of African states in terms of maritime capability.

Still, best thought of as “too good to check.”

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