Hydrofoil Patrol Gunboat USS Tucumcari (PGH-2) (1971) - Come One, Come All

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Hydrofoil Patrol Gunboat USS Tucumcari (PGH-2), refit 1971

Coastal vessel, USS Tucumcari, but fitted with 6 20mm guns during the living advertisement phase of its career. Can be a modification or something.

In 1970, USS Flagstaff and Tucumcari returned from their tour of duty in Vietnam. Afterwards, the two PGHs’ paths would diverge. Flagstaff became a test ship for gunboat technologies, while Tucumcari was deployed to Europe. Its rear mortar was replaced with an Emerson Electric twin turret, which could be remote controlled, and the twin 12.7mm MGs swapped with twin 20mm autocannons. It was used as a demonstrator for the NATO PHM program, visiting many ports and conducting exercises across Europe. As a demonstrator it was relatively successful, with Germany and Italy showing interest, which resulted in Italy’s Sparviero-class hydrofoils which were based on Tucumcari’s design. The twin turret was removed halfway through 1971, and it returned to the US at the end of that year, but continued to be used as demonstrator, mainly for the US Coast Guard. Unfortunately in late 1972, while doing nighttime training, Tucumcari ran aground on a coral reef near Puerto Rico, and was damaged so severely it was written off. The salvaged hull was sent to the Naval Ship Research and Development Center to be used in structural and firing tests. Ultimately Tucumcari’s design elements would prove more appealing to the Navy than Flagstaff, and its builder Boeing would be awarded the contract for the Pegasus-class Hydrofoils.

The Emerson Electric EX-73 mount was originally developed for the ATC Mk.2, but was tested aboard Tucumcari. It could be fitted with 20mm autocannons, .50cal MGs, or 30mm grenade launchers, and could be remote controlled. In the 20mm configuration, each gun was fed from a 250 round magazine.*

Specifications: (1971)

1x1 40mm Bofors L/60 Mk.3
1x2 20mm Mk.16 in Emerlec EX-73 mount (+65° and -15° elevation, 30°/s elevation speed and 60°/s rotation speed, 250 round magazines)
2x2 20mm Mk.16 on Mk.56 mount (200 round magazines)

58 tons full

Length: 22.7m

Beam: 5.9m

Draft: 1.3m (foils up) or 4.2m (foils down)

Propulsion: 1 Bristol Proteus gas turbine + 1 GM 6V-53 diesel engine, 3100 + 150 hp, driving 2 waterjets + 1 shaft

Speed: 50 knots (92.6 km/h)

Range: unknown

Crew: 13

Navigation radar



not that these are necessary as Tucumcari is already modelled.
oh hey this ancient documentary briefly features Tucumcari in this configuration at 8:59

Friedman, N. (1987). Motor Gunboats and PTFs. In U.S. Small Combatants: Including PT-Boats, Subchasers, and the Brown-Water Navy: An Illustrated Design History (pp. 257-263). Naval Institute Press.
Sayers, K. (2021). Patrol Gunboat-Hydrofoils. In U.S. Navy Patrol Vessels (pp. 235-240). McFarland.

*Also a random note, I have found 0 mention of this mounting outside of US Small Combatants, Jane’s just calls it a 20mm turret.

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