BNS Barroso V34 is a Brazilian medium-sized military naval corvette and represents the only member of her Barroso-class to date (2012). The vessel displaces at 2,350 tons when under full loads and is an indigenously designed and built ship by the Arsenal de Marinha do Rio de Janeiro concern. Due to the geographic makeup of the country, the Brazilian Navy requires use of "brown water" ships to patrol the vast shoreline presented. Despite beginning construction in 1994, the vessel was not launched until 2002 and not formally commission until 2008 (as the "Barroso V34").
Outwardly, design of the Barroso follows conventional wisdom in regards to this category of fighting ships, no doubt playing upon the strengths and proven nature of design qualities found in other world corvettes. The bow is raised to cut through choppy waters with a deck gun fitted just aft. The superstructure is aft of the deck gun and holds the bridge in a commanding position - identified by the horizontal set row of window panes. Communications and sensor arrays dot the superstructure roof as does a funnel to extract byproducts of the included propulsion system. The stern of the vessel can land a medium-class helicopter such as the Westland Lynx. Dimensionally, the Barroso sports a running length of 339 feet, 3 inches (103.4 meters) with a beam measuring 37 feet, 4 inches (11.4 meters) and she draws 17 feet, 4 inches (5.3 meters) of water. Her propulsion system consists of 2 x MTU 116 TB93 diesel engines coupled with 1 x General Electric LM250 series gas turbine driving power to 2 x shafts, in total, making 27,490 shaft horsepower. With this arrangement (known as "CODOG" for "COmbined Diesel Or Gas"), the Barroso can make up to 27 knots (50 km/h) in ideal conditions and presents an operational range of approximately 4,000 nautical miles (7,000 km). The dual-nature approach allows the vessel to utilize its diesels (one per shaft) for basic cruising while the geared gas turbine is called into play for high speed dashes as needed. She is crewed by a total of 154 personnel, made up of 25 officers and 125 enlisted men.
Designed for action, the Barroso is well-armed. For anti-submarine warfare (ASW) duty, she fields an EDO 99 C hull-mounted sonar array. The vessel does not feature traditional roll rack depth charges but instead counters submarine (and surface vessel threats) with 2 x triple-tube ARES SLT Mod 400 (324 mm) torpedo launchers for the Mk.46 Mod 5 series torpedo. For surface ship detection, the Barroso makes use of the Terma SCANTER surface-search radar as well as the RAN-20S 2-D search radar - also used in tracking approaching aircraft and incoming wave-top missiles threats. The Furuno FR-8252 navigation radar is used to navigate rocky shorelines. If threats are detected below or above the ship, the Orion RTX-30 fire-control radar and the Saab EOS-400 optronic fire-control system comes into play, directing the proper armament to destroy the threat.
The primary main gun armament is the 4.5 in (113 mm) Vickers Mk.8 auto-self deck gun mounted in a traversing station at the bow. The housing of the gun house is built with glass reinforced plastic and is rounded in its shape. The weapon has a high rate-of-fire of about 25 rounds per minute with a range out to 12 nautical miles (22 km) when using a new high-explosive 45lb single-piece shell projectile. A 40mm Bofors repeating cannon is used for closer-range threats as needed. This conventional weaponry is augmented by the use of French MBDA Exocet anti-ship missile launchers. These missiles measure in at 3 feet, 7 inches long and have a range of up to 70 to180 kilometers (43 to 110 miles). They skin the wave after launch in an effort to reduce their radar signature and attempt to bypass any tracking countermeasures used by the target. Their high-speed nature allows them to make 315 meters per second (1,030 ft/s) with inertial guidance and an active onboard radar suite. The Barroso V34 carries four such missiles. Additional defense is handled by a capable electronic countermeasures suite which can launch chaff and decoys to derail incoming threats.
Of all the nations in South America, Brazil maintains the largest numerically and includes a 32,800 ton conventionally powered aircraft carrier. Due to the fact that the Brazilian economy has eroded in recent years, the defense budget has been severely affected, limited the construction of further Barroso-class corvettes for the foreseeable future. The Brazilian Navy currently faces a problem in that it needs to replace its aged fleet of escorts who are rapidly reaching the end of their useful operational life spans. As such, the government may consider construction of one or two more Barroso-class corvettes with upgraded weapons suite to fill the void. The move would no doubt generate much needed jobs in the ship-building, weapons and technology industry.
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