Almirante-class Destroyer - Automatic Admiral

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Almirante-class Destroyer (18 - 19)


Almirante Williams

TL;DR
Bluewater vessel, Chilean destroyer with automatic 4-inch guns, very kewl.

Overview:
In 1951, as neighbouring rival Argentina was poised to acquire an aircraft carrier, Chile entered negotiations with British shipyards to build two modern destroyers equipped with heavy anti-aircraft armament to counter Argentinian naval aviation. Vosper-Thornycroft and Vickers-Armstrong submitted designs, with the Vickers proposal being chosen. This order came at the expense of the modernization of Chile’s battleship Almirante Latorre, which had also been contracted to Vickers-Armstrong. The design of the new Almirante-class destroyers was based on the Daring-class, but with modern weaponry, systems, and amenities. The main armament was the new Vickers Mk.N(R) automatic 4-inch gun, which had only been released in 1955 and was designed for anti-aircraft work. The Almirante-class would be the only ships to be equipped with these weapons, as they were rejected by the Royal Navy and other export designs with this gun failed their bids. Secondary armament was 6 L/70 Bofors, and there was also a set of torpedo tubes and ASW mortars. The radars were the latest Marconi and Signaal models, and the ship was fitted with new specially designed HVAC systems. Two more Almirante-class ships were also considered in 1965, but Chile opted to purchase two Leander-class, called the Condell-class, frigates instead. Vickers also attempted to sell a similar design to Colombia, but it was vetoed by the British Foreign Office as part of some weird naval politicking with Sweden to make them sell destroyers to Colombia instead of Indonesia.

The two ships were laid down in 1956 and 1957, and named Almirante Williams and Almirante Riveros respectively. They were both completed in 1960, and commissioned into the Chilean Navy soon after. The two ships differed slightly, with Almirante Riveros having a lattice stern mast. I have no idea if they had any major events during their service. In 1964, the ships were refitted, with two Seacat SAM launchers replacing two of the Bofors. In 1975 they were refitted again, this time with Exocet SSM launchers replacing the torpedo tubes. In 1986 they were refitted for the last time, with one of the 4-inch guns removed to make way for a helipad. The ships would serve until 1995-96, and they would be expended as targets in 1998.

Ship List:
Almirante Riveros (18), later (DDG-18)
Almirante Williams (19), later (DDG-19)

Specifications:

Armament:

1960

4x1 4"/62 (102mm) Vickers Mk.Q in Mk.N(R) (-7° to 85° elevations, 46 ready rounds, can be replenished while firing, 40 rpm)
6x1 40mm Bofors L/70
1x5 533mm TT
2x3 305mm Squid Mk.4 ASW mortar

1964

4x1 4"/62 (102mm) Vickers Mk.Q in Mk.N(R)
4x1 40mm Bofors L/70
2x4 Seacat GWS.20 SAM
1x5 533mm TT
2x3 305mm Squid Mk.4 ASW mortar

1975

4x1 4"/62 (102mm) Vickers Mk.Q in Mk.N(R)
4x1 40mm Bofors L/70
2x4 Seacat GWS.20 SAM
2x2 Exocet MM38 SSM
2x3 305mm Squid Mk.4 ASW mortar

Displacement:
2730 tons standard
3682 tons full (Almirante Williams)
3796 tons full (Almirante Riveros)

Length: 122.5m

Beam: 13.1m

Draft: 4m

Propulsion: 2 Parsons-Pametrada geared steam turbine engines with 2 Babcock & Wilcox boilers, 54 000 hp, driving 2 shafts

Speed: 34.5 knots (63.9 km/h)

Range: 6000nmi (at 16 knots)

Crew: 266

Systems:
2 Mk.6M fire directors with Marconi SNG-20 FCR
2 Signaal M44 AA FCR
Marconi SNW-10 search radar
Marconi SNW-20 search radar
Type 164B sonar

Images:


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Drawings:



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Sources:
Friedman, N. (2006). British Destroyers & Frigates (pp. 336-337). Seaforth.
Gardiner, R., Chumbley, S., & Budzbon, P. (1995). Chile. In Conway’s All the World’s Fighting Ships 1947-1995 (p. 51). Naval Institute Press.
Marland, P. (2013). “The Vickers 4-inch MK N(R) Mounting”. In J. Jordan (Ed.), Warship 2013 (pp. 174-177). Conway.
Raymond, B. (1962). Jane’s fighting ships 1962-63 (pp. 46, 439). Janes.
Wise, J. (2013). “Securing “The Ripest Plum”: Britain and the South American Naval Export Market 1945-1975”. In J. Jordan (Ed.), Warship 2013 (pp. 119-133). Conway.

Images:
https://web.archive.org/web/20091125132525/https://base.mforos.com/1716038/4009443-destructores-tipo-almirante-ddg-18-riveros-y-ddg-19-williams/

4 Likes

Would be excellent for the UK due to the tech link, or alternatively a LatAm naval tree

1 Like

Hello there!

Pretty ships!

There are minor details to fix:

  • Gun: Vickers Mark Q, not “Mk.N(R)” (Source: Navweaps).
  • Mount: Vickers Universal, not “Mk.N(R)” (Source: Navweaps).
  • Rate of fire: The 50 rpm is not even theoretical. It is the value Vickers postulated it could achieve even before designing the weapon. In theory it could slightly exceed 40 rounds per minute. In practice it was done in short periods, that is, not 40 rounds or one minute of continuous shooting. That said, it is still a formidable weapon. (Source: Revista de Marina de Chile, 1989). Yeah, the “50” of Navweaps site generates confusion.
  • Displacement: It reached 3,700 or 3,800, depending on the vessel in question (Source: Chilean Navy web). Way more than they expected!

I don’t think I can point out more details, in general everything is very good.
Regards

2 Likes

Navweaps is weird, mostly because I think the guy doesn’t maintain the more minor weapon pages. My books (one of which is from a journal he cites but newer) calls it the Mk.N(R) so I’m going to stick with it. I also already have Mark Q written down tho.

But interesting, 50 rpm did seem mostly theoretical, and companies do like to exaggerate their own capabilities. Most of these automatic large calibre guns overheat really quickly in-game too so I wouldn’t expect a whole minute at that rof anyhow.

My displacement comes from the very generalist sources of Conway’s and Jane’s, I didn’t really check out the Chiliean navy sources. Thanks.

Yes, Navweaps lacks knowledge and researchers of Latin American weapons. You can go to the forum to leave comments about it. I do it with more or less success.

Regarding the name of the cannons, it is simple, the negotiations started with the “Mark N” and ended with the “Mark Q”, Chile being the only user of this cannon. That is highlighted in "Conway’s “Warship 2013,” on page 174, column 2.
However, in Friedman’s “British Destroyers & Frigates. Second World War & After”, page 268?, the mistake of calling the cannons “Mark (N)” is made repeatedly. And additionally the details are corrupted by the publications of Conway’s “All the World Fighting Ships. 1947-1995” and Jane’s “Fighting Ships” which make the mistake of giving an incorrect technical description to the guns, with wrong range and elevation values. 11 km!? Even as an anti-aircraft roof is absurd. It would be a worse cannon than one from World War II.
Fortunately Conway’s was able to rectify it later in the mentioned “Warships 2013”.

To give an idea of the rarity of the rate of fire, it should be noted that in British sea trials 40 rounds per minute were not reached. The armament was not completed by the delivery date and the ships were delayed by 1 or 2 years. What’s more, even in the Chilean commission the weapons were not finished and British technicians had to be sent to Chile to finish the work. Fortunately there the 40 rpm was exceeded, but 50 rpm was not reached in any way.

And the displacement thing is a minor detail, after all.

Regards

2 Likes

In this case I think Friedman sources from the early Vickers design documents, it’s why the drawing in the book features British radars and has the original turret design which is much more blocky.

1 Like