Peru Table of Contents
As of 1992, the navy had a total complement of 22,000 personnel, including 2,000 officers, 10,000 conscripts, and 3,000 marines. Volunteers included at least fifty enlisted servicewomen in the navy, some with ranks and regular two-year service duties, others with one-day-a-week and Saturday duties for one year. The former could reenlist for additional two-year periods, the latter for one. They performed mostly administrative tasks.
The number of naval personnel increased by more than 100 percent (and the marines by 150 percent) during the 1980s, more rapidly than any other service grew (see table 24, Appendix). In large measure, the increase had resulted from the completion during the decade of a major modernization program begun during the military government of 1968-80. By the end of the 1980s, the Peruvian Navy had replaced that of Chile as the third largest in Latin America, behind only Brazil and Argentina.
Reporting directly to the commander in chief of the navy were the chief of staff and the commanders of the Pacific Naval Force, Amazon River Force, Callao Naval Base, and the Naval Studies Center (Centro de Estudios Navales--CEN). The two key components were the Pacific Naval Force and the Amazon River Force. By far the most important was the Pacific fleet, with ten submarines, two cruisers, six destroyers, four missile frigates, and six missile attack craft (see table 25, Appendix). Most were based at the Callao Naval Base, with the submarines at San Lorenzo Island; there was also a small base at Talara in the northwestern department of Piura. The Amazon River Force had four river gunboats and some twenty small craft, most at the main base at Iquitos, with a subsidiary facility at Madre de Dios. Additional components included the Lake Titicaca Patrol Force, with about a dozen small patrol boats, based at Puno; and the Naval Air Service with about sixty aircraft between Jorge Chávez International Airport at Lima (fixed wing) and the Callao Naval Base (a helicopter squadron and a training unit). The greatly expanded Marine Infantry of Peru (Infantería de Marina del Perú-- Imap) included an amphibious brigade and local security units with two transports (one used as a school ship), four tanklanding ships, and about forty Brazilian Chaimite armored personnel carriers. Since 1982 Imap detachments have been deployed, under army command, in counterinsurgency capacities in Ayacucho and Huancavelica departments.
Ten submarines gave Peru the largest underwater fleet in Latin America. Six of the submarines that entered into service between 1974 and 1977 were Type 209, built for Peru in West Germany. All were conventionally powered with eight twentyone -inch torpedo tubes and had a complement of five officers and twenty-six technicians and enlisted personnel. The other submarines were former United States Navy craft that had been refitted and transferred to the Peruvian Navy. One was a Guppy IA class launched in 1944 and acquired from the United States Navy in 1975, with ten twenty-one-inch torpedo tubes and a personnel complement of eighty-four. The other three were newer modified Mackerel class, launched between 1953 and 1957, with six twentyone -inch torpedo tubes and a crew of forty.
The two cruisers were the former Netherlands De Ruyter and De Zeven Provincien, purchased in 1973 and 1976 and renamed the Almirante Grau and the Aguirre, respectively. The Almirante Grau was reconditioned in the late 1980s to include eight surface-to-surface missiles (Otomats), in addition to its eight 152-mm surface guns and 57-mm and 40-mm antiaircraft guns. The Aguirre carried the same guns (four 152-mm) but had been modified for a hangar and flight deck for three Sea King helicopters equipped with Exocet missiles. Each cruiser had a crew of 953, including forty-nine officers.
Peru's six destroyers were all older ships from the 1940s and early 1950s. The two former British destroyers, renamed Ferré and Palacios, had been refitted to accommodate eight Exocet missile launchers and a helicopter deck in addition to their regular armament of six 114-mm guns and two 40-mm antiaircraft guns. The other four destroyers were those remaining in active service of the eight purchased from the Netherlands between 1978 and 1982 (the other four were cannibalized for parts); their armament included four 120-mm guns.
Contrasting with these older, even antiquated former Dutch destroyers were the four modern Lupo-type frigates and six fast missile attack craft. Two of the frigates, Melitón Carvajal and Manuel Villavicencio, were completed in Italy in 1979; the other two sister ships were constructed at the Callao Naval Base under license to the Maritime Industrial Service (Servicio Industrial de Marina--Sima), a public company with three operational centers (Callao, Chimbote, and Iquitos) and launched in the early 1980s. Equipment and armament for each included an Agusta Bell 212 helicopter, eight Otomats, two batteries of surface-to-air missiles, and a 127-mm gun. The six missile attack craft, each equipped with four Exocet missiles, were built in France for Peru and completed in 1980 and 1981. These ships were the most important component of Peru's surface navy because of their speed, versatility, and relatively recent construction.
Data as of September 1992
Peru Table of Contents