Oct 1, 2010

Future of the Portuguese Navy

Think Atlantic, but don't forget the capability to sail much away...

943 km (586 mi) in continental Portugal, 667 km in the Azores, 250 km in Madeira and in the Salvage Islands.
Portugal has the 3rd largest EEZ
of the EU and the 11th in the world. The seazone over which the Portuguese have special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources, has 1,727,408 sqm.

Total Personnal Strenght (2006/2007 estimates):
Regular: 8775; Active reservists: 335; Reserve: 900: Portugese Marines: 1725.

Up to 1 LPD or Ro-Ro ?
Since some years, the Portuguese navy planned to acquire a sealift/amphibious ship able for “projection” use. Currently the current financial situation slow the project. The possible design contenders are:
- New Zealand 9000 tons “Canterburry” design.
- A smaller version of the Spanish Juan Carlos I design.
- A German MD 150 design.
- A smaller (12/14000 tons) version of the French “Mistral” BPC.
- A smaller dutch “Enforcer” LPD design.

It is possible that this ship appear around late 2010’s/through 2020’s.

5 Frigates (toward a common class by late 2020’s ?)
3 Vasco Da Gama
(Vasco da Gama, Alvares Cabral, Corte-Real), 3000+ tons, 115 meters (German Meko 200 PN design). Commissioned by 1990/1992, with probable +/- 30 year service life expected, to be retired by 2020/2022+.

2 Bartolomeu Dias
(Bartolomeu Dias, Francisco de Almeida), 3000 tons, 122 meters (ex dutch frigate of the « Karel Doorman » class). Designed by mid 1980’s. Originally in dutch service by 1994, transferred to Portuguese by 2009/2010. With probable +/- 30 year service life expected, to be retired by late 2020’s.

It is very likely that these 5 frigates, to be retired by late 2020’s, should be replaced by a single (as usual….fewer & bigger…) frigates class (three or four 3500/4500 tons frigates).

7 Corvettes (toward fewer and biggers…OPV)
3 Baptista de Andrade
(Baptista de Andrade, Joao Roby, Afonso Cerqueira), 1300+ tons, 81 meters corvettes (improved Joao Coutinho design). Built in Spanish shipyards. Commissioned by 1974/1975, with probable 30 year service life expected, to be retired by mid 2010’s.

4 Joao Coutinho
(Antonio Enes, Joao Coutinho, Jacinto Candido, General Pereira D’Eca), 1300 tons, 81 meters corvette design. Built in Spanish/german shipyards. Commissioned by 1970/1971, with probable +/- 30 year service life expected, to be retired soon, by early 2010’s.

These nearly similar 2 class of 1300 tons corvettes are planned to be replaced by a common class of OPV :

Up to 6 Viana do Castelo class OPV
(Viana do Castelo, Figueira da Foz, Sines, Ponta Delgada, Funchel, Aveiro). 1600 tons, 83 meters OPV (NPO 2000 Project). Commissioned by 2010/2012.

Up to 2 submarines (a total renewal !)
2 Tridente class
(Tridente, Arpao), 1700 tons, 65 meters SSK of the german type 214/209PN design. These 2 ships replace now 2 retired obsolete 1960’s SSK of French design. Commissioned by 2010/2011. With probable 30 year service life, to be retired around 2040.

4 Offshore Patrols Boats (toward 0 ?)
4 Cacine
(Save, Cacine, Zaire, Cuanza). 292 tons, 44 meters. Commissioned by 1970. Likely to be “indirectly” replaced by the newer “Viana do Castelo” OPV class.

Mid Shore Patrols Boats
4 Centauro
(Sagitario, Pegaso, Centauro, Orion). 94 tons, 27 meters. Commissioned by 2001 and to be retired by late 2020's/early 2030's.

1 Rio Minho.
“Rio-Minho”. 70 tons, 22 meters. Commissioned by 1991 and to be retired by late 2010's/early 2020's.

5 Argos
(Dragoa, Escorpiao, Cassiopeia, Hidra, Argos). 94 tons, 27 meters. Commissioned by 1991
and to be retired by late 2010's/early 2020's.

2 Albatros
(Cisne, Aguia). 43 tons, 21 meters. Commissioned by 1975/1976 and to be retired by late 2010's max.

Up to 5 LFC
(coastal Patrol Crafts), expected through 2010's ?

3 Training/Sailing ships
1 « Creoula »
1000 tons, 67 meters. 1937.

1 « Sagres »
1900 tons, 70 meters, 1937

1 « Polar »
70 tons, 23 meters, built by 1977 in dutch shipyard and transferred to Portuguese by 1983.

1 Fleet Tanker
1 « Berrio »
4700/11500 tons, 140 meters. Ex british “blue rover”, built by 1970, transferred by 1993. To be retired by late 2010’s/early 2020’s and ? maybe ? replaced by a more versatile ships (maybe a smaller Joint Support Ship design ?)

Others Auxiliary
up to 2 future "pollution combat ships (NCP's)
Derived from the NPO 2000 OPV design. To be commissioned during 2010's.

1 « Shultz Xavier »
900 tons, 56 meters,
Buoy ship, 1972.

2 « Andromeda »
(Auriga, Andromeda), 245 tons, 31 meters.
Hydrographic ships, commissioned by 1988.

Small amphibious crafts
1 « Bacamarte » 650 tons, 56 meters, 1985.

1 LCU (maybe confused with the LCT ?)

Some LARC-5 amphibious vehicles.

Some Zebro class inflatable boat.

Some LDM 100/400 landing crafts

Portuguese Marines (1725 troops)
15 heavy mortars (120mm).
Some others mortars (60/81mm).
Some anti-tank missile/recoilless guns.
20 Pandur II (8x8) Heavy Armored Vehicles under delivery. Obviously, some others lighters vehicles & so.

Portugese Naval Aviation
5 helico:
5 Lynx Mk95 (super lynx)

The Portuguese Navy was currently under heavy modernisation (sub's, patrol crafts). Although the country's financial ressources are tighter, the Portuguese Navy may be happy to have a +/- reasonnable size (except in naval aviation), consistent with the portuguese ambitions.

Next fleet review/editorial: Future of the Israeli Navy.

As usual, It may be that in my opinion, I forgot programs ? (or made few mistakes ?), then said it ! Feel free to comment and give your opinion !


  1. Michael BrackfieldOctober 1, 2010 at 5:06 PM

    D Carlos I
    Almirate Gago Coutinho

    Ocean Patrol Vessels Missing, else perfect

  2. Hi Michael,
    Hmmm, I don't know these 2 ships :-

    Official Portuguese Navy website.....

  3. Michael BrackfieldOctober 2, 2010 at 4:06 PM

    They were with the US Navy

    ex USNS Audacious (T-AGOS-11) = D Carlos 1
    & USNS Assurance (T-AGOS-5) = Almirate Gage Coutinho

    Stalwart class ocean surveillance ships.

    Michael Brackfield

  4. Thanks for these details Michael ;)

  5. Hello! Look is portuguese blog, is very good:
    - http://barcoavista.blogspot.pt/