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Brave-class patrol boat

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F010729-0071, Marine aus Großbritannien in Oberwinter am Rhein.jpg
HMS Brave Borderer on the Rhine, 1961
Class overview
Name: Brave class
Builders: Vosper & Company, Portchester
Operators:  Royal Navy
Preceded by: Dark class
Built: 1958–1960
In commission: 1960–1970
Completed: 2
Retired: 2
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Fast attack craft
  • 89 long tons (90 t) standard
  • 114 long tons (116 t) full load

90 ft (27 m) wl

98 ft 10 in (30.12 m) overall
Beam: 25 ft 6 in (7.77 m)
Draught: 7 ft (2.1 m)

52 knots (96 km/h; 60 mph) maximum

46 knots (85 km/h; 53 mph) continuous
Range: 400 nmi (740 km; 460 mi)
Complement: 20 (3 officers, 17 ratings)

The Brave-class fast patrol boats were a class of two gas turbine motor torpedo boats (MTBs) that were the last of their type for the Royal Navy (RN) Coastal Forces division. They formed the basis for a series of simpler boats which were widely built for export.

At the time of their introduction the Braves were the fastest naval vessels in the world.

Brave class

The Brave class followed the Dark class of convertible motor torpedo boats/gunboats. They were larger than the Dark class, and differed in being powered by gas turbine engines rather than the diesel engines of the Dark class. (Gas turbine propulsion had been tested in the Bold class of two experimental fast patrol boats). Three Bristol Proteus engines propelled the Braves to a maximum of 52 knots (96 km/h; 60 mph). Like the Dark class, the Braves had a mahogany skin over aluminium frame construction. They were built to be able to be used as either motor torpedo boats or motor gun boats. For the former role they had a 40 mm Bofors gun, four 21-inch (533 mm) torpedoes and two depth charges, in the latter two 40 mm guns and two torpedoes. It was planned to arm the ships with a new 3.3-inch (84 mm) gun based on the 20-pounder tank gun in a stabilised mounting, but this was abandoned.[3][4]

Visitors boarding HMS Brave Borderer at Oberwinter, Germany, 1961
Visitors boarding HMS Brave Borderer at Oberwinter, Germany, 1961

The Royal Navy abandoned the idea of large scale coastal forces in 1957, so only two Braves were built for the Royal Navy. The two Braves, along with a single member of the Dark class, formed the Coastal Forces Trials and Special Service Squadron, based as Gosport. These were used to maintain proficiency in Coastal Forces operations, also being used as targets and for fishery protection.[3][5] The two Braves were retired from use in 1970.[3]

Ferocity and derivatives

The Braves were expensive boats, so as a private venture, Vospers produced a simpler derivative, Ferocity. This was smaller than the Braves, with an overall length of 90 feet 8 inches (27.64 m) and was powered by two Proteus engines instead of three, which were supplemented by two diesel engines for cruising. Construction was all wooden to minimise costs. Despite the reduced size and power, performance and armament were similar to the Braves. While Ferocity herself was not sold, it formed the basis for a number of boats for export.[5][6] These included sales to West Germany (two, called the Vosper class), Denmark (five of the Søløven class), Greece, Malaysia for the RMN in 1966 (four craft), Brunei and Libya, and was also the basis for the  Scimitar-class fast training boat.


The two RN craft were both built by Vospers at Portchester:

  • HMS <i>Brave Borderer</i> <span class="nowrap">(P1011)</span>, launched on 7 January 1958 and commissioned on 26 January 1960.[5]
  • HMS <i>Brave Swordsman</i> <span class="nowrap">(P1012)</span>, launched 22 May 1958 and commissioned on 20 July 1960.[5]

At the end of their life they were sold to the Haydon-Baillie aircraft museum.



Denmark purchased six Søløven-class fast patrol boats, with the larger hull form and the 3-Proteus powerplant of the Brave class and the wooden construction of Ferocity. Armament consisted of two 40 mm Bofors guns and four torpedoes.[7][8] The first two boats, Søløven and Søridderen were built by Vospers (with Søløven being paid for by the United States and hence given the nominal US designation PT-821), with the remaining four boats being built under license by the Royal Dockyard, Copenhagen.[9] They were placed into reserve in 1988, and disposed of when the  Flyvefisken-class patrol vessels entered service, with disposal complete by 1992.[7]

Name Number Laid down[8] Launched[8] Commissioned[8] Fate[10]
Søløven P 510 27 August 1962 19 April 1963 12 February 1965 Decommissioned 5 July 1990
Søridderen P 511 4 October 1962 22 Aug 1963 10 February 1965 Decommissioned 5 July 1990
Søbjornen P 512 9 July 1963 19 August 1964 20 October 1965[9] Decommissioned 5 July 1990
Søhesten P 513 5 September 1963 31 March 1965 21 June 1966[9] Decommissioned 5 July 1990
Søhunden P 514 18 August 1964 12 January 1966 20 December 1966[9] Decommissioned 5 July 1990
Søulven P 515 30 March 1965 27 April 1966 17 May 1967[9] Decommissioned 5 July 1990

One of the Søløven-class boats, apparently in a derelict state, was auctioned in Belgium from 12–24 February 2016,[11] being moored alongside another in Antwerp harbour.

West Germany

German Strahl in 1965
German Strahl in 1965

West Germany ordered two fast patrol boats (both designated Type 153) from Vospers on 22 August 1960. The first, Strahl was based on the Brave class, with three Proteus gas turbines, while Pfeil was based on the smaller Ferocity with two Proteus. Armament was the same convertible combination of Bofors 40 mm guns and torpedoes as the Brave class, with the option of replacing the torpedoes with eight mines.[12] They were transferred to Greece in 1967.[13]

Name Number Launched Commissioned Fate
Pfeil P 6193 26 October 1961[13] 27 June 1962[13] To Greece 1967 as Aiolos (P19). Discarded 1976[14]
Strahl P 6194 10 January 1962[12] 21 November 1962[15] To Greece 1967 as Astrapi (P 20). Discarded 1979[14]


In October 1966, Libya ordered three fast patrol boats of the Susa class from Vospers based on the Danish Søløven class, with the wooden construction of Ferocity but a larger hull powered by three Proteus engines. Armament consisted of eight SS.12 wire-guided anti-ship missiles and two 40 mm Bofors guns.[16][17]

Name Number Launched Commissioned Fate
Susa P 512 31 August 1967[17]
Sirte P 513 10 January 1968[17]
(originally Sokna)
P 514 29 February 1968[17]


The Royal Malaysian Navy ordered four Perkasa-class fast patrol craft on 22 October 1964 to be designed and built by Vospers. The design was similar to the Danish Søløven class, with a large (30.4 metres (99 ft 9 in)) wooden hull with an aluminium superstructure and powered by three Proteus engines. The original armament was four torpedoes (which could be swapped for 10 mines), a single 40 mm Bofors gun forward and a twin 20 mm Oerlikon cannon mount aft.[18][19] The four boats were delivered in 1967 and re-armed with eight SS-12 missiles in 1971.[18]

  • KD Perkasa P150
  • KD Handalan P151
  • KD Gempita P152
  • KD Pendekar P153


A single boat of the class was purchased by the Royal Brunei Navy, KDB Pahlawan.


  1. ^ Blackman 1971, p. 371.
  2. ^ Blackman 1960, p. 48.
  3. ^ a b c Gardiner and Chumbley 1995, p. 539.
  4. ^ Blackman 1960, pp. 48–49.
  5. ^ a b c d Blackman 1962, p. 286.
  6. ^ "Ferocity". British Military Powerboat Team. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  7. ^ a b Gardiner and Chumbley 1995, p. 79.
  8. ^ a b c d Blackman 1971, p. 73.
  9. ^ a b c d e Prézelin and Baker 1990, p. 107.
  10. ^ "SØLØVEN Class (1965-1990)". Danish Naval History. 26 April 2005. Retrieved 22 December 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^,11:P11_AUCTION_ID:7545
  12. ^ a b Blackman 1962, p. 104.
  13. ^ a b c Gardiner and Chumbley 1995, p. 150.
  14. ^ a b Gardiner and Chumbley 1995, p. 165.
  15. ^ Blackman 1971, p. 150.
  16. ^ Blackman 1971, p. 223.
  17. ^ a b c d Gardiner and Chumbley 1995, p. 256.
  18. ^ a b Blackman 1971, p. 275.
  19. ^ Gardiner and Chumbley 1995, p. 260.


  • Blackman, Raymond V. B. Jane's Fighting Ships 1960–61. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company, 1960.
  • Blackman, Raymond V. B. Jane's Fighting Ships 1962–63. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company, 1962.
  • Blackman, Raymond V. B. Jane's Fighting Ships 1971–72. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company, 1971. ISBN 0-354-00096-9.
  • Gardiner, Robert and Stephen Chumbley. Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1947–1995. Annapolis, Maryland USA: Naval Institute Press, 1995. ISBN 1-55750-132-7.
  • Prézelin, Bernard and A.D Baker. The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World 1990/91. Annapolis, Maryland, USA: Naval Institute Press, 1990. ISBN 0-87021-250-8.

External links

This page was last edited on 11 March 2021, at 12:21
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