When 2010 British budget cuts forced the Royal Navy to sell RFA Largs Bay just a few years into its service life, Chile’s need to deliver disaster relief from the sea made them one of the reported bidders. Largs Bay ended up heading to Australia, but France’s replacement of its Foudre Class LSDs with larger Mistral Class LHD helicopter carriers gave Chile another opportunity. In October 2011, Chile reportedly beat out Brazil and Argentina for the deal, which is said to be worth $80 million.
The 12,000t FS Foudre was commissioned in 1990, so she is many years older than Largs Bay. On the other hand, Chile’s needs a replacement for its 8,687t Valdivia Newport Class LST, which was retired in January after almost 40 years of combined US/Chilean service.