The USA has reportedly offered its 40-years-old Oliver Hazard Perry Class guided missile frigates to the government of Ukraine as part of an attempt to strengthen its newfound Eastern European ally’s defenses against neighboring Russia.
While Ukraine was formerly one of the world’s foremost military shipbuilders, with the only shipyards in the world capable of manufacturing super carriers other than those in the USA, the deterioration of the country’s defense sector alongside its economy in general has meant that these capabilities have been lost.
The result is that Ukraine’s Navy, much like its Air Force, is increasingly unable to modernize its assets and is forced to make a highly costly shift to imported inferior Western technologies, one which the cash strapped government can not afford.
The Oliver Hazard Perry Class warships have no value against Russia’s naval and anti ship technologies in the event of a Ukrainian-Russian conflict in the Black or Azov seas.
Entering service in 1975, the Perry Class was largely developed with exports in mind in the final days of the Vietnam War – with the Iranian government of Mohamed Reza Shah expected to be the first major customer.
Today the majority of ships of the class have been retired, and their capabilities are effectively obsolete for modern naval warfare.
They have nevertheless been provided second hand by the U.S. Navy to a number of lower tier allies including Egypt, Bahrain, Turkey and Poland.
We wonder if these ships will be equipped with the high tech navigation systems that cause them to crash into other ships. With the Ukies at the helm, the Black Sea might well be transformed into a Naval version of “Dodgem Cars”.
And make money on maintenance and technological improvements?
A cash trap?