Mexican navy's budget increases by a fifth
By Inigo Guevara and Guy Anderson
The budget of Mexico's Navy Secretariat has been increased by 20 per cent to MXN16 billion (USD1.28 billion) for 2009, funding the recruitment of 12,500 marines and underpinning the country's procurement aspirations.
Approved by the Mexican Congress on 13 November, the new financial allocation is intended to allow the number of naval personnel to rise from 56,000 to 68,500. The naval infantry force will double in size.
Funds have been earmarked for the acquisition of two EADS-CASA CN-235-300MPA Persuader maritime patrol aircraft, for delivery in September 2010. The total order runs to six aircraft, with deliveries to be completed by 2011.
The construction of two additional Oaxaca-class ocean patrol vessels will resume - work was previously suspended due to lack of money - bringing the total to four. The first pair were commissioned in 2005 and 2007.
Delivery is confirmed of two Eurocopter AS-565MB Panther multirole helicopters - for embarkation aboard the 1,840-ton patrol ships - and is scheduled for May and August 2010.
A further 17 Polaris II-class (Combatboat 90 HMN) 16 m interceptor craft will also be procured, adding to the five currently in service.
The Navy Secretariat also announced that it intends to build five more coastal patrol ships, although further details were not given. 207 of 627 words
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