Thursday, 6 April 2017

Two of a kind ... Spanish and Moroccan corvettes

During my cruises around the Iberian Peninsula I have often seen ships of the Descubierta-class. These corvettes (which were rated by NATO as frigates) were built for the Spanish Navy in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Their design was based on an earlier one by the German company Blohm & Voss for the Portuguese Navy, the João Coutinho-class corvettes.

On our latest cruise I saw SNS Cazadora in Cadiz. Some years ago she was re-rated from being a corvette to patrol vessel, but she still retains quite a significant 'punch' as she is armed with a 76mm OTO Melera gun, a 20mm anti-aircraft gun, and a pair of Harpoon surface-to-surface missiles.

Cazadora's 76mm and 20mm guns.
Cazadora's pair of Harpoon surface-to-surface missile tubes.
Ships of this design were also built in Spain for the Egyptian (2 ships) and Royal Moroccan Navies (1 ship), and I saw the latter – Lieutenant Colonel Errhamani – whilst we were in Casablanca.

The armament of Lieutenant Colonel Errhamani differs somewhat from her Spanish sister-ship. She is armed with a 76mm OTO Melera gun and a twin-barrelled Bofors anti-submarine mortar forward, ...

... a pair of triple anti-submarine torpedo tubes on each side amidships, ...

... an octuple Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missile launcher aft, ...

... ahead of which mounted are a pair of fully-enclosed 40mm anti-aircraft guns.

It was interesting to compare these two sister-ships. They are both over thirty years old, yet still performing useful roles in their respective navies.

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