João Coutinho-class corvette

The João Coutinho-class corvettes were a series of corvettes built for the Portuguese Navy for service in Portugal's African colonies. The corvettes were designed in Portugal by naval engineer Rogério de Oliveira, but the urgent need of their services in the Portuguese Colonial War meant that the construction of the ships was assigned to foreign shipyards. Six ships were built; the first three ships were built by Blohm + Voss and the remaining three by Empresa Nacional Bazán. The ships were launched in 1970 and 1971.[1][2]

NRP António Enes, João Coutinho-class corvette entering the port of Horta
Class overview
Name: João Coutinho
Builders: Bazan, Ferrol (Spain) & Blohm & Voss, Hamburg (Germany)
Built: 1968-1971
In commission: 1970-2018
Completed: 6
Active: 0
Retired: 6
General characteristics
Type: Frigate
Displacement: 1,252 tons standard, 1,401 tons full load
Length: 81 m
Beam: 10.3 m
Draught: 3.3 m
Propulsion: 2 shaft, 2 OEW Pielstick diesel engines, 10,560hp
Speed: 24 knots
Range: 5,000 nmi at 18 knots
Complement: 93
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Radar: Western Electric SPG-34, fire-control
  • Radar: Kelvin Hugues, navigation
  • Sonar: QCU-2
  • 3"/50 Mk.33 in 1 twin mount guns
  • 40 mm/L70 Bofors guns in twin mount
  • Hedgehog ASW mortar (removed in 1987)
  • Depth charge racks (removed in 1987)

From 1970 until the end of the conflict in 1975, the corvettes were used for patrol and fire-support missions in Angola, Mozambique, Guinea and Cape Verde. After the African colonies gained their independence, the corvettes were assigned to patrol duties in Portuguese territorial waters.[1][2]

The João Coutinho class served as the basis for several other designs: Baptista de Andrade-class corvettes[3] (Portugal), Descubierta-class corvettes[4] (Spain, Egypt and Morocco), Espora-class (MEKO 140) corvettes[5] (Argentina) and D'Estienne d'Orves-class (A-69) avisos[6] (France, Argentina and Turkey) .


NRP General Pereira D'Eça was sunk off Madeira as an artificial reef on 13 July 2016.[7] NRP Augusto de Castilho and NRP Honório Barreto were purchased by a metal company, RAPLUS for scrapping in 2011.[8]


Pennant Number Name Builder Commissioned Current Status
F471NRP António EnesBazán1971Decommissioned 2019.
F475NRP João CoutinhoBlohm + Voss1970Decommissioned 2015.
F476NRP Jacinto CândidoBlohm + Voss1970Decommissioned 2018. [9]
F477NRP General Pereira D'EçaBlohm + Voss1970Decommissioned, sunk as artificial reef
F484NRP Augusto de CastilhoBazán1970Decommissioned, scrapped
F485NRP Honório BarretoBazán1970Decommissioned, scrapped


  1. Afonso, Aniceto; Carlos de Matos Gomes (2000). Guerra Colonial. Editorial Noticias. pp. 378–380. ISBN 972-46-1192-2. (Portuguese text)
  2. "Classe João Coutinho". Retrieved 2011-08-05. (Portuguese text)
  3. "NRP Baptista de Andrade". Retrieved 2011-08-05. (Portuguese text)
  4. Miller, David (2004). The Illustrated Directory of Warships: From 1860 to the Present Day. Greenwich Editions. pp. 248–249. ISBN 0-86288-677-5.
  5. "Armada Argentina - Sitio Oficial - Reseña Histórica". Archived from the original on 2008-02-06. Retrieved 2009-02-13. (Spanish text. Copy in Internet Archive cache)
  6. A Corveta Portuguesa dos anos 70, Operacional: 2009
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