At the end of 1962, a contract was signed between the Empresa Nacional Bazán de Construcciones Navales Militares, S.A. of Spain and the Government of Chile for the construction of 4 torpedo boats originally based on the Jaguar-class fast attack craft FPB-36 design of the German Lürssen Werft, each cost $750,000. These torpedo boats were ordered by Chile since at that time there were times of tension with the neighboring country of Argentina due to the Beagle conflict (dispute over 3 islands in the south of Chile) and that before these 4 torpedo boats were ordered, Chile did not have with a coastal fleet powerful enough to discourage Argentina from crossing Chilean maritime territorial limits. The 4 torpedo boats were baptized as Guacolda, Fresia, Quidora and Tegualda, which were all sisters and shared the same technical characteristics, only one differed for a short period of time, the Guacolda.
This is how the Guacolda was delivered to Chile on July 30, 1965, being embarked on the German merchant Stuttgart and arriving in Chile on September 21 of that same year, the other 3 torpedo boats arrived in Chile during 1966.
Unloading of the Torpedo Boat Guacolda
Characteristics of the torpedo boats
Unlike the German version on which they were based, Chile asked the Spanish company that these torpedo boats be built to spend 20 consecutive days at sea, which surprised the Spanish since in Spain ships like these only operated for 1 day and they came back. The original version on which the Chilean torpedo boats were based had 3 engines, so Chile decided to eliminate one of the engines and operate with only two for reasons of space and weight, since satisfactory accommodations were needed for the crew, such as cabins, chambers, bathrooms, kitchen, refrigerator and fresh water pond, which were needed to spend many days in the Beagle channels. With this modification, the maximum speed of the Chilean torpedo boats was 32 knots (59 km/h).
As for weapons, they were armed with two 40 mm Bofors cannons, four torpedo tubes for torpedoes Weymouth MK IV, plus two chocks for reload bow tubes.
The special modification of the Guacolda
Tensions with Argentina were getting worse and the situation of Chilean military material was precarious in comparison with Argentina. For this reason, on the same date that the torpedo boats were acquired, Chile bought ten Mowag Grenadier model armored vehicles 4x4 from Switzerland armed with Oerlikon rocket launchers 81mm for the Chilean marine infantry, a unique export model for Chile. There are photos from the Chilean Navy that show that these rocket launchers were mounted on the Guacolda torpedo boat on a test basis in the same place occupied by the bow 40mm mount with the intention of installing it on the four torpedo boats, once they were tested it was decided to return to the original configuration, presumably since it would be difficult to aim and shoot at such a high speed in the torpedo boat, even so this prototype of the Guacolda existed as seen in photos. These torpedo boats served for many years in Chile and currently the Guacolda is in service as a general service boat.
Mowag Grenadier armed with 81mm oerlikon rocket launcher of the chilean marine infantry
Oerlikon 81mm rocket launcher mounted on the Guacolda torpedo boat
- Primary armament: 2x Oerlikon Typ 3Z 8Dla rocket launcher (bow)
- Secondary armament: 1 x 40 mm/70 Bofors 315 cannon (stern)
- Vertical guidance: -10º / +90º
- Fire rate: 240 shots/minute
- Torpedo launcher: 4 x 533 mm torpedoes Weymouth MK IV
- Length: 36 m
- Beam: 5,6 m
- Draft: 2,2 m
- Displacement: 134 tons
- Propulsion: 2 Maybach Mercedes Benz MB839 Bd Diesel engines, 4800 hp
- Max. speed: 32 knots (59 km/h)
- Endurance: 1500 nm (15 kts)