FF 1037 Bronstein
The Bronstein-class frigates, both of which have been retired, fulfilled a Protection of Shipping (POS) mission as Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) combatants for amphibious expeditionary forces, underway replenishment groups and merchant convoys.
Two Bronstein class escorts were authorized in FY1960; both awarded to Avondale Shipyards, New Orleans LA. These were the first of the second generation of post World War II escorts designed for the US Navy. Their tonnage was comparable to World War II destroyer designs though their speed was considerably lower, at 26 knots. One DeLavel geared turbine was mated up to two Foster-Wheeler high pressure boilers to deliver 20,000 shp to one propeller shaft -- this arrangement was borrowed from the smaller Dealey class escorts built in the early 1950s, though this hull form brought about a higher speed on the same horsepower. These ships would pave the way for the larger and more powerful (as well as more numerous) Garcia, Brooke, and Knox class ships -- all later classified as frigates.
The design attributed to this new hull form was a raked stern, stern anchor, and "mack" structure mast and stack. These ships were designed around the new SQS-26 bow-mounted sonar which would have many design modifications incorporated into future classes. These ships were fitted with the standard radar suite of SPS-10 and SPS-40 search radars (mounted on the "mack") and they were the first ships built with the Mk16 ASROC 8-tube launcher which could launch an encapsulated lightweight torpedo out to six or more miles. This was fitted just abaft a twin Mk33 3-inch/50 enclosed gun mount. One more Mk33 single turret was mounted on the stern. Future designs would incorporate 5-inch guns until the Navy deployed a new rapid-fire 3-inch gun on its Oliver Hazard Perry class authorized in FY1973. This design lacked a helicopter hangar, though there was a landing pad which could accommodate one helicopter; there was no room for expansion toward hangar facilities and this was a marked disadvantage for ASW operations. The next design, Garcia class incorporated a helicopter hangar and saw a more numerous production run.
Both ships served from 1963 to 1990. They were decommissioned in 1990 and sold to Mexico in November 1993 where both were still in service as of August 2001.
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