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Baptista de Andrade class

Patrol corvette

Baptista de Andrade class

The Baptista de Andrade class is an evolution of the Portuguese Joao Coutinho class corvettes

Country of origin Portugal
Entered service 1974
Crew 113 men
Sea endurance 21 days
Dimensions and displacement
Length 84.6 m
Beam 10.3 m
Draught 3.3 m
Displacement, standard 1 252 tons
Displacement, full load 1 401 tons
Propulsion and speed
Speed 24 knots
Range 9 260 km at 18 knots
Propulsion 2 x diesel engines, developing 10 560 shp, driving 2 shafts
Helicopters 1 x Super Lynx Mk.95
Artillery 1 x 100-mm dual-purpose gun, 2 x 40-mm anti-aircraft guns
Missiles -
Torpedoes 2 x triple-tube 324-mm torpedo launchers


   Portugal's Baptista de Andrade class corvettes were half-sisters of the preceding Joao Coutinho class, and were built shortly after the former was delivered to the Portuguese Navy. The hulls of these two classes are virtually identical, but the Baptista de Andrade class was outfitted with a stronger gun armament and improved electronics. They nonetheless serve in the same role, as patrol corvettes.

   The procurement of this class of corvettes is something of an enigma, as the Portuguese Navy was satisfied with the Joao Coutinho class, and the new configuration complicated logistical compatibility with those vessels. Although the Baptista de Andrade class was arguably a much more capable design, it has also been suggested that the Portuguese government secretly intended to transfer them to South Africa (during the Apartheid era, in which there was a heavy arms embargo on that nation), but the 1974 Carnation Revolution curtailed this plan before any could be sold. Regardless of what the true intentions behind these warships were, by 1974 they ended up being commissioned in the Portuguese Navy, where they remain in service to this day.

   Four vessels in the class were constructed for the Portuguese Navy; the F486 Baptista de Andrade, F487 Joao Roby, F488 Afonso Cerqueira, and F489 Oliveira e Carmo. All were designed in Portugal and built at the Bazan shipyard in Ferrol, Spain, between 1972 and 1976, with the Baptista de Andrade being commissioned in 1974.

   As with the Joao Coutinho class, the Baptista de Andrade class was employed overseas during the Portuguese Colonial War, mostly for maritime patrol, convoy escort, and naval fire support missions. Though as they arrived later in that conflict, their participation was brief. Since that time, the Baptista de Andrade class has not actively participated in any combat operations.

   The appearance of the Baptista de Andrade class is nearly indistinguishable from the Joao Coutinho class (see the profile on the Joćo Coutinho class for a detailed description), save for the larger, single-gun turret.

   The electronics suite is very spare, with an AWS-2 air search radar, a TM-626 navigation radar, a Pollux fire control radar, and a Diodon sonar.

   The propulsion system is unchanged from the Joao Coutinho class; a pair of OEW 12PC2V280 diesel engines, with a combined output of 10 560 shp driving 2 shafts. The top speed is 24 knots, and the maximum range is 9 260 km (5000 nautical miles) at 18 knots.

   Replacing the twin 76-mm gun turret of the Joao Coutinho class is a turret for a single Creusot-Loire Model 1968 100-mm/L55 dual-purpose gun. The turret traverses to +/-150 degrees at up to 40 degrees/second, and elevates through -5 to +80 degrees at up to 25 degrees/second. It fires 13.5 kg projectiles at a rate of fire of up to 60 rounds/minute, out to a maximum range of 17 260 m (the effective range is 12 000 m), and an anti-aircraft ceiling of 6 000 m. This weapon is effective against ships, aircraft, and most shore targets, but is too unwieldy to reliably engage most anti-ship missiles. And as with the Joao Coutinho class, the fire control system for the main gun battery is outdated.

   The anti-aircraft battery of the Baptista de Andrade class is unchanged from the Joao Coutinho class, except for being split into two single Bofors 40-mm/L70 mounts instead of a one twin-gun mount; see that entry for more information.

   Unlike the Joao Coutinho class, the Baptista de Andrade class were built with a torpedo battery, consisting of two triple-tube Mk.32 launchers for 324-mm torpedoes.

   The total ammunition loadout is 600 100-mm shells, and an unknown quantity of 40-mm shells, and at least 6 Mk.46 anti-submarine torpedoes. These ships also have provisions to accept two single-tube launchers for MM.38 Exocet anti-ship missiles, though the Portuguese Navy reserves this option for wartime.

   The Aviation facilities of the Baptista de Andrade class are unchanged from its predecessor, with a helipad for a single helicopter, but no hangar.

   These ships are very inexpensive by modern standards, costing a paltry US$85 Million to construct, and only US$11.3 Million/year to maintain. By contrast, the US-built Sa'ar 5 class missile corvettes operated by Israel cost US$260 Million to construct, and US$26 Million/year to maintain (although a major factor in this difference is in the much more advanced electronics and heavier arsenal of weapons on the latter class).

   As of 2016 all four Baptista de Andrade class corvettes are decommissioned. The F489 Oliveira e Carmo was decommissioned in 1999-2000 and apparently stripped and scuttled. In 2012 this corvette was sunk as artificial reef.  The F486 Baptista de Andrade was in reserve, until it was decommissioned in 2007. The F487 Joao Roby and F488 Afonso Cerqueira were both decommissioned in 2015. All four Baptista de Andrade class corvettes were replaced by four new Viana do Castelo class offshore patrol vessels. Most likely that the old and weakly-armed Baptista de Andrade corvettes will be sold to the shipbreaking industry than any foreign navies.




   Joao Coutinho class: The design basis of the Baptista de Andrade class. Their configuration was almost identical, except for different electronics and a lighter gun battery. All of the Joao Coutinho class patrol corvettes were decommissioned by 2015.

   MEKO 140: A Blohm & Voss company design, based on the Joao Coutinho class. Several other nations acquired MEKO 140 warships (see below).

   Espora class: Based on the MEKO 140A16 design, and significantly better-armed than the Joao Coutinho class, this class was built for the Argentine Navy. Six were built, and are still in service.

   D'Estienne d'Orves class: A large class of lightly-armed corvettes based on the A69 design (which in turn is based on the MEKO 140 design), built as "Avisios" for the French Navy. 17 were built, 15 of which are in service with France, Turkey, and Argentina.

   Descubierta class: These very heavily-armed corvettes are based on the MEKO 140 design, for the Spanish, Egyptian, and Moroccan navies. 9 were built, of which 8 are still in service.


Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
Baptista de Andrade (F486) 1972 1973 1974

decommissioned in 2007

Joao Roby (F487) 1972 1973 1975 decommissioned in 2015
Afonso Cerqueira (F488) 1973 1973 1975 decommissioned in 2015
Oliveira e Carmo (F489) 1972 1974 1976

decommissioned in 1999-2000



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Baptista de Andrade class

Baptista de Andrade class

Baptista de Andrade class

Baptista de Andrade class

Baptista de Andrade class

Baptista de Andrade class

Baptista de Andrade class

Baptista de Andrade class

Baptista de Andrade class

Baptista de Andrade class

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