Hermenegildo Capelo

Frigate Ex-NRP Hermenegildo Capelo F481

The “Comandante Hermenegildo Capelo” frigate is the second frigate in a group of four ships ordered in 1964 by the Portuguese Navy: “João Belo”, “Hermenegildo Capelo”, “Roberto Ivens” and “Sacadura Cabral”.

The initial plan was to buy four “Leander” class frigates from the United Kingdom but due to political reasons, and given the urgency of the need to acquire them, the four ships ended up being ordered from a French shipyard in Nantes following the project to acquire ships of the “Commandant Rivière” class, that were, however, warning-escort ships, versatile and robust ships but less sophisticated for the type of mission that they were expected to go on in the colonies (for example, they were not equipped with missiles but instead, fortunately, they were equipped with cannons).

From the point when it was brought into effective service for the Portuguese Navy on April 26th 1968, it took part in several missions in Africa, in various national and international exercises, search and rescue missions and inspection of the exclusive economic zone. It also undertook voyages for the instruction of naval college trainees.

Subsequently, at the and of the 1980s (between 1987 and 1989) the frigates were modernised in various ways, in particular the installation of ASW (Anti Submarine Warfare) equipment and infrastructure that would allow for female sailors on board.

In 2008 the only two frigates of their class still in service in the Portuguese Navy ("João Belo" and "Sacadura Cabral") were transferred to the National Army of Uruguay, which had already happened with the French frigates that had inspired the construction of the ships of the same class as the "João Belo".

General Characteristics

Launch: November 29th 1966;

Effective entry date to the Armed Forces: April 26th 1968 (Ordinance Nº 23323, 24th April 1968);

Retired: 2004;

Disarmed: 2005 (Ordinance Nº 745/2005, 1st July);
Between March 18th 1978 (Ordinance n.º 606/78, 3rd October) and 5th October 1985, the ship was in a state of disarmament with a special crew;

Years of service: 37;

Heraldry: coat of arms and heraldic standard awarded on December 17th, 1976;

NATO Designation: F481;

Crew: 164 crewmembers (15 Officials, 27 Sergeants and 122 Sailors);

Construction: started in 1966 at the Compagnie des Ateliers et Forges de la Loire shipyard in Nantes;

Class: “João Belo”;

Characteristics: Displacement 2,700t; Length 102.7m; Maximum Breadth 11.7m; Hull 4.4m; Maximum Speed 23.5 knots; Autonomy 7,500 miles (15 knots);

Propulsion: Four 16,000hp Diesel engines;

Armaments/Equipment: 2 x 100mm units; 2 x 40mm units; 6 torpedo launchers;2 x chaff launchers; 1 lifeboat;

Electronic combat equipment: Air Warning Radar; Surface Radar; Shot Direction Radar; Navigation Radar; Sonar.

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