The Niterói class were designed and built by the British shipyard Vosper Thornycroft in the 1970s.
Brazil has many neighbours, but all are much weaker than Brazil, and no country can now pose a credible threat – not even Argentina, once by far the richest and most powerful country in Latin America. This gives Brazil a geostrategic position similar to that of the US: a giant continental power with no landward threats. Currently, the core of Brazil’s surface fleet are frigates of the Niterói class. A total of seven frigates were completed between 1975–1986, and are planned to be replaced by the Tamandaré class in 2026.
The Niterói class were designed and built by the British shipyard Vosper Thornycroft in the 1970s. These frigates were designated the Mk 10 by Vosper Thornycroft and are the largest of a series of ships built by that shipyard for both foreign buyers and the Royal Navy. When completed, the frigates had a full load displacement of 3,700 tons. Dimensions include an overall length of 129.2 m, a beam of 13.5 m and a draught of 5.5 m.
Propulsion system is a Combined diesel or gas, including 2 x Rolls-Royce Olympus gas turbines generating 56,000 horsepower, and 4 x MTU marine diesels outputting 18,000 horsepower. Maximum speed in ideal conditions reaches 30 knots. Range is out to 5,300 nautical miles when cruising at an economical 17 knots.
The crew is about 215 people including sailors and officers. Stores allow for the vessel to remain at-sea for up to 45 days before requiring replenishment. The vessel supports up to one Westland Super Lynx Mk.21A or similar medium-lift navy helicopter. A helipad is provided for this operation as is a full-service hangar area.