Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Brazil's navy will decommission its sole aircraft carrier, Sao Paulo, after concluding the vessel's maintenance costs are too high.
Navy officials made the decision to retire the aircraft carrier after studies revealed it would take 10 years to upgrade the ship. IHS Janes reports the country will make procuring a replacement the service's third-highest priority after its submarine and Tamandaré-class corvette programs.
In the future, the navy plans to domestically construct two new aircraft carriers, each displacing roughly 50,000 tons at sea.
According to Brazilian newspaper Estadão, Sao Paulo's demobilization process will begin immediately, and is expected to be complete by 2020. The A-4 Skyhawk fighters accompanying the vessel will remain in service with the country's military, and will operate from the Sao Pedro de Aldeia air base.
Brazilian defense leaders have not yet decided on a final destination for Sao Paulo. The government sold its last aircraft carrier Minas Gerais for spare parts on the international market.
Sao Paulo is 56 years old, and was purchased from France in 2000. The ship began undergoing a revitalization program in 2005, but deficiencies in the engines, propulsion shaft, and other equipment prevented the project from being completed.