|National Navy of Uruguay|
|Armada Nacional del Uruguay|
|Founded||15 November 1817|
|Role||"The National Navy, as an integral member of the Armed Forces, shares its mission to defend the Constitution and the laws of the state, its territorial integrity and the exercise of its authority and maritime police, in order to contribute to the defense of the honor, independence and peace of the Republic."|
|Size||abt. 5,700 personnel|
|Garrison/HQ||Rambla 25 de Agosto de 1825, Montevideo|
|Motto(s)||Llegar, Luchar, Vencer Siempre|
"To arrive. To fight. To win. Always."
|Anniversaries||15 November: Navy Day|
|Adm. Jorge Wilson|
|Helicopter||HC.2-Mk 2, MBB Bo-105M|
|Patrol||Beech 200T, BAe Jetstream T2|
The National Navy of Uruguay (Spanish: Armada Nacional del Uruguay) is a branch of the Armed Forces of Uruguay under the direction of the Ministry of National Defense and the commander in chief of the Navy (Comandante en Jefe de la Armada or COMAR).
Under the late Spanish Empire, Montevideo became the main naval base (Real Apostadero de Marina) for the South Atlantic, with authority over the Argentine coast, Fernando Po, and the Falklands. The arrival of 100 ships under Viceroy Pedro de Cevallos in 1777 was the beginning of the city's prosperity.
The Uruguayan navy, however, dates its origin from General Artigas's letter of marque on 15 November 1817, which authorized his forces to plunder Portuguese shipping wherever they found it. Portuguese forces from Brazil had invaded Uruguay (then known as Banda Oriental) in August 1816. Under the nominal leadership of the Pedro Campbell, the Irish "Gaucho Admiral", around 50 privateer schooners and brigs (including República Oriental, Fortuna, Valiente, Temerario, and Intrépido) were able to capture more than 200 enemy vessels as far off as Madagascar, Spain, and the Antilles.
See also: Uruguayan Civil War
Following independence, a navy was established under Colonel Pablo Zufriategui, a veteran of Artigas's campaigns and the 33 Easterners. As Captain of Ports (Capitán General de Puertos), he fought smuggling and in 1832 Zufriategui led the first sovereign engagement when the schooner Aguila chased off the pirate ship Exquisit from Uruguayan waters.
Although the force remained too small to play a decisive role in the Great War, it is notable that command of the small fleet was personally assumed by Giuseppe Garibaldi, who captured Colonia del Sacramento, Isla Martín García, and Gualeguaychú. The flagship during this period was the corvette Sarandí, named after an important battle in the war for independence.
The first specially fitted warships were the gunboats General Rivera, General Artigas, and General Suárez. The first was assembled in Uruguay by the Academy of Arts & Crafts (Escuela de Artes y Oficios) and commissioned in April 1884; the second was constructed in Trieste, then part of Austria-Hungary, and commissioned in December 1884; the last was the 23-year-old French gunboat Tactique, acquired in 1886. General Rivera was the first ship of the Navy to pass the Strait of Magellan.
Just prior to World War One, President Williman devoted considerable effort and expense to modernizing the navy, viewing it as demanded for Uruguay's "sovereignty and honor." After false starts in 1817, 1863, and 1874, the Naval Academy (Escuela Naval) was eventually established in December 1907. New ships included the gunboat Dieciocho de Julio (constructed in the UK in 1889), the cruiser Montevideo (the ex-Italian cruiser Dogali), the transport Maldonado (constructed in Germany in 1886 and soon renamed Barón de Río Branco for its tasks for the Commission on the Limits of the Merín Lagoon), the steamer Vanguardia, and the courier Oriental. The torpedo gunboat Uruguay was constructed to order in Germany and commissioned August 1910. Also in 1910, the government acquired the Cibils-Jackson shipyard, renaming it the National Dock. These advances were then sabotaged by funding cutbacks throughout the 1920s that left the navy poorly maintained.
In June 1916, the tug Instituto de Pesca Nº1 - manned by Navy servicemen - led the second failed attempt to rescue the men of Shackleton's expedition from Elephant Island.
In 1925, the Fleet Aeronautics Service (Servicio de Aeronáutica de la Armada) was created under Captain Atilio Frigerio, the first Uruguayan pilot to obtain the brevet of Military Pilot (Aviano, Italy, 1912). The first planes, however, did not arrive until 1930.
In 1934, the first Naval Act (Ley Orgánica de la Armada) created the Inspectorate of the Navy (Inspección General de Marina), freeing the Navy from direct subordination to the Army. The next year, three patrol boats ordered from Cantieri Navali Riuniti in Genoa arrived. The Paysandú, Salto, and Río Negro having served for about 30 years, were decommissioned, and then were brought back into service in the 1990s.
See also: Battle of the River Plate
In December 1939, the Río de la Plata saw the first major naval engagement of World War II when the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee faced the cruisers HMS Ajax, Achilles, and Exeter and then fled into Montevideo harbor during the Battle of the River Plate. Although Uruguay was officially neutral, her pro-British sentiment allowed the Royal Navy to carry out a highly successful disinformation campaign that ended in the German scuttling of the ship.
In 1940, La Paloma's Naval Base (Base Naval de la Paloma) was established. The same year, Uruguay introduced conscription and the Navy established the battalions Zapicán and Honor y Patria as part of its Reserve Fleet. The next year, the Navy created the Naval War School (Escuela de Guerra Naval) to improve its officers' training.
Although Uruguay did not officially join the Allies until 15 February 1945, it was involved in assisting the convoy effort. This involved the confiscation of two Italian and two Occupied Danish freighters in Montevideo, which were manned by the Navy and rechristened Montevideo, Maldonado, Rocha and Colonia. Montevideo was incidentally sunk by the Italian submarine Enrico Tazzoli in March 1942, which prompted Uruguay to seize the German freighter Tacoma. In August 1942, Maldonado was sunk after its commander was taken prisoner by the German submarine U-510. Following this incidents, Uruguay leased a number of its boats to the US Navy and received in 1944 the anti-submarine warfare (ASW)-capable corvette Maldonado.
The Fleet Aeronautics Service received six Kingfisher seaplanes from the United States in 1942 and established Laguna del Sauce Aeronaval Base (Base Aeronaval No.2 de Laguna del Sauce) in 1947.
Following World War II, the beginning of the Cold War saw the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance signed in Rio de Janeiro, which provided for "Hemispheric defense" and required signatory states to work to improve and coordinate their naval forces. Between 1949 and 1952, the FAS received sixteen TBM Avenger torpedo bombers, three SNJ Texan trainers, and twelve F6F Hellcat fighters. More, in 1952, the surface fleet received the destroyer escorts Uruguay and Artigas and, in 1953, the frigate Montevideo.
In 1955, the Coast Guard received three motor launches: PS-1, PS-2, and PS-3. In May 1959, PS-2 stood out in the rescue of the crew of the Uruguayan freighter Pietrina, stranded on the English Bank, a sandbar off Montevideo.
In 1957, the UNITAS joint exercises began between the United States and the navies of Latin America. The basic training was oriented towards protection of marine lines of trade and communication, focusing on escort and ASW exercises. With the aim of improving the navy's range and support capability, the oiler Presidente Oribe was purchased in 1962; ten years later, the second oiler Presidente Rivera; and in 1978, Juan Antonio Lavalleja.
From 1960 to 1962, naval officers on Alférez Cámpora circumnavigated the globe.
In 1965, three S2A Tracker ASW planes were received; in 1966, the minesweepers Cte. Pedro Campbell and Montevideo; in 1969, the tender Hurrican; in 1970, the minesweepers Rio Negro and Maldonado. In 1973, the destroyer 18 de Julio replaced Montevideo.
The present Uruguayan Marine Corps (Cuerpo de Fusileros Navales) was established in 1972.
In 1978, refit works were completed to the ROU 20 Capitan Miranda that was converted it into a training ship and sailing school. Following graduation from the Naval Academy, cadets embark on a cruise of the world that functions as a good-will tour for Uruguay.
In 1981, three French-designed Vigilante-class patrol boats arrive for the Coast Guard – 15 de Noviembre, 25 de Agosto, and Comodoro Coe – but it is discovered that their upkeep is considerably more expensive than promised, and the ships are quite unsuited for conditions in the Rio de la Plata. An attempt to sell them in 1995 found no buyers, however, and so the ships have remained in active service.
In 1988, the Navy acquired a new ship to replace its previous oilers, christened Presidente Rivera.
From 1989 to 1991, three Commandant Riviere-class frigates are purchased from France. These were christened ROU 02 General Artigas, ROU 01 Uruguay, and ROU 03 Montevideo. These too ran into problems, particularly with upkeep, and General Artigas was removed from service. In a decision between the two remaining ships, Uruguay was decommissioned and Montevideo received repairs and refurbishment.
Following the fall of Communism, a number of former East German Volksmarine ships were purchased from the new government. In 1991, the Navy received the minesweepers ROU 31 Temerario, ROU 32 Valiente, ROU 33 Fortuna, and ROU 34 Audaz. These were named after privateers of the independence era. Also in 1991, Otto von Guericke was purchased and converted into ROU 26 Vanguardia. In the early hours of 5 August 2000, Valiente sank after a collision with the Panamanian freighter Skyros, while on patrol off Cabo Polonio. Eleven crewmembers died or became missing in the disaster.
The Coast Guard received new ships from the United States, Colonia and Río Negro; and in 1999, nine boats of the 44 class from the same country.
The buoy tender Sirius was constructed in Montevideo at the National Dock, which also refitted the Portuguese Cte. Pedro Campbell and Uruguay.
At the end of 1998, the research ship Oyarvide was purchased from Germany for the purpose of studying and charting the Continental Shelf. It is hoped that the work will justify a redefinition of its boundaries that would approximately double Uruguay's marine exclusive economic zone to around 200,000 km2.
The National Navy is composed of about 5,700 personnel organized principally into four commands, each with its distinctive color for official functions.
In addition, there are two General Services Corps (Servicios Generales or SS.GG.)
and the Naval Academy (Escuela Naval or ESNAL).
The National Navy also includes the Uruguayan Marine Corps and the National Naval Aviation Command.
The service is divided into four main sections:
The Fleet Command is in charge of most of the actual ships of the fleet, the marines, and the naval aviation bases and aircraft. The Coast Guard administers the modest Uruguayan merchant marine and naval registry. The Naval Materiel Directorate preserves and repairs naval equipment, in addition to administering the fleet arsenal and directing hydrological and meteorological study. The Personnel Directorate is concerned with human resources and particularly the administration of the Uruguayan Naval Academy.
In addition, the Fleet General Staff (Estado Mayor General de la Armada or ESMAY) assists the admiral in his administration. It oversees naval intelligence, strategic and tactical planning, logistics, liaison, and political lobbying on the Navy's behalf.
Main article: Ranks of the Armed Forces of Uruguay
|Rank group||General/flag officers||Senior officers||Junior officers||Officer cadet|
| National Navy of Uruguay
|Almirante||Contraalmirante||Capitán de navío||Capitán de fragata||Capitán de corbeta||Teniente de navío||Alférez de navio||Alférez de fragata||Guardiamarina|
|Rank group||Senior NCOs||Junior NCOs||Enlisted|
| National Navy of Uruguay
|Sub-oficial de cargo||Sub-oficial de primera||Sub-oficial de segunda||Cabo de primera||Cabo de segunda||Marinero de primera||Aprendiz|
The ship prefix for Uruguay is ROU (for República Oriental del Uruguay, the "Oriental Republic of Uruguay"). In addition to their ship name, government ships are numerically listed. This is a position and not an identification number: as ships are decommissioned and replaced, their previous numbers are reused by newer vessels.
The current[when?] fleet consists of:
|ROU 04||General Artigas||Lüneburg (E)||Replenishment oiler||6 Apr 2005||Refitted with helipad. Used for helicopter patrol & transport. Formerly German Freiburg|
|ROU 11||Río Negro||Cape (C)||Patrol boat||25 Jan 1990||Formerly USCGC Cape Horn|
|ROU 20||Capitán Miranda||Hydrographic||Schooner||28 Dec 1930||Spanish-built. Survey ship prior to 1978, now a training ship|
|ESNAL||Bonanza||Oceanic sail boat||Schooner||training ship|
|Auxiliary Ships Service|
|ROU 21||Sirius||Balizador||Buoy tender||12 May 1988||Built in Montevideo with assistance from Dutch Damen SY|
|ROU 23||Maldonado||Wangerooge (B)||Rescue-salvage ship||20 Nov 2002||Fitted for firefighting, hydrographic research. Formerly German Norderney|
|ROU 26||Vanguardia||Piast||Rescue-salvage ship||18 Dec 1991||Formerly 570 Otto von Guericke, Volksmarine|
|ROU 27||Banco Ortiz||Type 270||Coastal tug||8 Nov 1991||Formerly East Germany tug 4 Zingst, Volksmarine, Y1655 Elbe,|
|Mining & Counter mining Division|
|ROU 31||Temerario||Kondor II||Minesweeper||11 Oct 1991||Formerly 89.242 Riesa, Volksmarine|
|ROU 34||Audaz||Kondor II||Minesweeper||11 Oct 1991||Formerly 89.245 Eisleben, Volksmarine|
|Search & Rescue|
|ROU 52||Isla Lobos||23.5m-class||Lifeboat||23 November 2018||Formerly Hannes Glogner, German Maritime Search and Rescue Service|
Since 1997, the Uruguayan Naval Academy has also maintained the racing sloop Bonanza, a gift from the US Naval Academy at Annapolis. The Prefectura (Coast Guard) received in 2019 a donation of 4 Metal Shark Defiant 32 patrol boats from the USA.
The Uruguayan Navy plans to modernize its aging fleet through new ship acquisitions over the next decade. In 2021, Admiral Jorge Wilson, Commander of the Uruguayan Navy, signed a Letter of Acceptance which will allow the transfer of three Marine Protector-class patrol vessels from the United States Coast Guard. Each ship will include a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) that can be launched from the stern of the larger vessel via an innovative launch and recovery system.
Uruguay has also commenced a tender process to purchase two Offshore Patrol Vessels for around $100 million. The current administration will pay $50 million while the rest of the money will be paid in the next ten years, with the first vessel expected to be delivered by June 2024.
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