U.S. Navy (J. Lill)
In mid-February, Brazil reversed plans to modernize its aging aircraft carrier São Paulo and announced that the 50+ year-old ship would be readied instead for decommissioning. The 33,000-ton aircraft carrier was originally launched in Saint-Nazaire in July 1960 and entered service three years later as the French aircraft carrier Foch. Following nearly 40 years with the French Navy and several major refits, the 869-foot warship was purchased and renamed by Brazil in 2000. Although she was capable of carrying a maximum of 37 aircraft, her typical Brazilian loadout included an air wing of 14 A-4 Skyhawk fighter-bombers and five helicopters. The carrier remained fully operational for only a few years in the Brazilian Navy as rising costs made maintenance and additional modernization efforts untenable amid requirements to fund higher priority naval programs. While Brazil hopes to acquire a new aircraft carrier in the future, budget shortfalls will remain a major hurdle.