Vosper Mark 1 Corvette, GNS Kromantse (F17)

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Vosper Mark 1 Corvette, GNS Kromantse (F17)

Kromantse during sea trials

Coastal vessel, Ghanaian corvette, first in a long line of Cold War Vosper-Thornycroft export ships. Has rather light WW2-era armament.

In the 1960s, Vospers and Vickers-Armstrong presented a new small ship design, the Mark 1 corvette. In Britain it was mocked as a “poor man’s frigate”, but it was not meant for domestic use. Rather, the newly independent former colonies would need a multi functional and cheap ship to form their newly founded navies, and soon orders from 2 countries came in, Ghana and Libya, and the lineage of ships started by the Mark 1 corvette would become one of British shipbuilding’s most successful exports. The Mark 1 corvette was a small vessel, displacing only 500 tons, and was armed with 4-inch guns taken from A and T-class submarines, a Bofors AA gun, and a Squid ASW mortar, allowing it to fight a variety of targets. The Ghanaian Navy took the standard design, but the Libyan Navy wanted a gunboat design with more Bofors at the expense of the ASW mortar. However despite its small size and old weaponry, it was still a modern design, featuring new radars, air conditioning, NBC protection, and “yacht style” crew accommodations.

The Ghana Navy ordered 2 ships in 1962, built in Vosper’s Portsmouth shipyard and Vickers-Armstrong’s Newcastle shipyard, and named Kromantse and Keta. Kromantse was completed in 1964 and transferred to Ghana, with a minor fire fire breaking out when it was almost completed, but causing no real damage. Additionally 2 more ships were considered for building, but they ultimately never materialized. The ship had a very uneventful service, and went through 2 refits, one in 1975 and another in 1984, where it was fitted with a new navigation radar. By 1988 because of poor naval funding and maintenance, the ship was considered inoperable, and was subsequently decommissioned and scrapped.

Specifications: (1964)

1x1 4"/40 (102mm) QF Mk.XXIII (200 rounds)
1x1 40mm Bofors L/60 Mk.9 (1200 rounds)
1x3 Squid Mk.4 ASW mortar (30-40 charges)

435t standard
510t full

Length: 54m

Beam: 8.7m

Draft: 3.1m

Propulsion: 2 Bristol Siddeley Maybach MD 872 diesel engines, 7200 hp, driving 2 shafts

Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h)

Range: 1100nmi (at 18 knots)

Crew: 54

Plessey AWS-1 search radar
Decca 45 navigation radar
Type 1674 sonar



Ehlers, H. (2012). Fregaty biedaka. In Okręty Wojenne Vol. XIX, Nr 3/2012 (pp. 86-97).
Gardiner, R., Chumbley, S., & Budzbon, P. (1995). Ghana. In Conway’s All the World’s Fighting Ships 1947-1995 (pp. 157). Naval Institute Press.


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