The first submersible in the history of the Peruvian Navy was conceived by the engineer Federico Blume Othon in 1866 and built in Piura in 1879. Successful testing in Paita and Callao showed that it was possible to navigate under the surface with a triple system of propulsion that incorporated human action, a steam engine and bottles of compressed air. Unfortunately, the outcome of the Pacific War did not allow it to be used successfully and it had to be sunk in January of 1881.
Many of the officers who fought in the Pacific War and who knew the versatility of the submarine boat of Blume bet on acquiring submersibles thirty years later. At the beginning of the 1910s, Peru ordered the construction of two Labeuf-type submersibles in France, units that before the First World War only the naval powers possessed. For this reason, the submarine tradition in our country begins when on August 19th of 1911 we received at the French shipyards Scheneider du Chalons, Sur Saone, the submersibles Ferré and Palacios, names that evoke Diego Ferré Sosa and Enrique Palacios Mendiburu, both officers that served on board the monitor Huáscar and with their commander Miguel Grau died in the combat of Angamos on October 8th, 1879.
Ferré and Palacios submersibles had a displacement of 300 and 400 tons respectively and had 1 torpedo tube in the bow, Scheneider Carels diesel engines with a nominal power of 400 and 200 H.P. for each unit, speed 12 and 9 knots in surface and 7 and 5 knots in immersion. Action radius: 2,000 miles at 10 knots. Crew: 19 men.
In the year 1926 the "R" type submarines built by The Electric Boat Co. of Groton, Connecticut, United States of America were incorporated into our fleet, initially delivered in April 1926 the R1 and in May of 1928 the last of the series: the R4. The first two units would be named BAP Casma and BAP Islay. The R3 and R4 received the names BAP Pacocha and BAP Arica.
The main characteristics of these submarines were the following: displacement in surface 576 tons, in immersion 755 tons. Propulsion: 2 Nelseco diesel main engines and electric motors with a rated power of 1,000 H.P. Length 186.5 feet, sleeve 17.5 feet, draft 15 feet. Surface speed 14.5 knots and in immersion 9.5 knots. Armament: 4 torpedo tubes in the bow, a simple assembly of 3 inches on deck. Radius of action at economic speed 8,000 miles. Crew: 30 men.
The brand new ships formed the first Division of Submarines, true master beam of a school that in the course of 30 years, formalized instruction, training and experience, putting together as a whole, a professional training program that gives Peruvian Submariners a place of special professional recognition in the world.
It is of the case to remember what the newspaper The New London Day published on April 21st, 1928 regarding one of these ships: "The R-3 at the time is skidded down the ways, was the ends and most modern submarine in the world". Comments in relation to this important piece of information, collected by Rear Admiral Federico Salmón de la Jara in 1950 for the return of the R-type submarines to the shipyards of its construction, is an important chapter of the national submarine history. With Admiral Salmón - at that time Commander - was integrated the official Commission of Officers of Singular Prestige, with the following Officers: CDR Luis E. Vargas Caballero, Miguel Rotalde, Alfredo Batistini, Carlos Llosa, Luis Lopez de Castilla and with them the Lieutenants: Ramón Arróspide, Luis E Villena, Manuel Piqueras, Enrique Gamero, Gastón Herrera and Luis Vargas B. (MC). LTJG: Pedro Mazuré, Francisco Mariátegui, Juan Egúsquiza, Pedro Gálvez U., Antonio Miranda, Luis Díaz, Hugo Sommerkamp, Enrique Fernández Dávila, and Enrique Alejandro Marchini. The crews of the ships and Command of the Division, gave all of them and their personnel, patriotic and invaluable service to the nation, and also to Lieutenant Alberto Indacochea Queirolo and Lieutenant Francisco Quiroz Tafur who joined them in New London.
It constituted a third milestone, in the last years of the decade of 1950, within the plans of renovation of naval units, the acquisition of new submarines type "Sierra": BAP 2 de Mayo, BAP Abtao, BAP Angamos and BAP Iquique that were also built in the shipyards of The Electric Boat Co., Groton, Connecticut, United States. These vessels displaced 825 tons in surface and 1,400 tons in immersion. Propulsion: main machines 2 General Motors 278A diesel engines and electric motors coupled to two axes with a rated power of 2,400 HP. Armament: 4 torpedo tubes 21 inches forward and 2 aft, a simple assembly of 5 inches on deck (only submarines 2 de Mayo and Abtao). Length: 243 feet, sleeve 22 feet, draft 14 feet. Speed: 16 knots in surface and 10 knots in immersion. Action radius: 5,000 miles at 10 knots. Crew: 40 men.
Initially the names of these ships were Wolf, Shark, Tuna and Merlin, they remained in service for forty years and consolidated a tradition that does well to the submarine community spirituality of our Navy. Today, the BAP Abtao, an underwater museum, is the only one of its kind in South America, and pays homage to the submarine history that it was a part off.
In 1974, two "Guppy" submarines were acquired from the United States Navy. The main features of these units named Pacocha and La Pedrera were the following: displacement on the surface 1,870 tons, immersion 2,440 tons. Propelled by 3 surface diesel engines with a rated power of 4,800 H.P and two electric immersion motors for 5,400 H.P. coupled to two axes. Armament: 6 torpedo tubes 21 inches in bow and 4 aft. Length: 93.8 meters, beam 8.2 meters and draft 5.2 meters. Speed: 18 knots in surface and 15 knots in immersion. Crew: 85 men.
The presence of these units in our Navy meant important conditioning tasks that the Navy's Industrial Service and the submariners and their personnel did, whose technical virtues were demonstrated in the operation achievements, especially in the case of BAP Pacocha. This unit is the leading character in the long history of the Peruvian submarines and the men who serve on board, a dramatic episode that took place on August 26, 1988 when the fishing boat Kyowa Maru hit the Pacocha by the port wing at 18:40 hours causing the ship to sink. Eight sailors died that August afternoon: Commander Daniel Nieva Rodríguez, LTJG Luis Roca Sara, Cheif Orlando Valdez Pacheco, Carlos Orosco León, Rigoberto Gonzales Pisfil and Walter García Morales, and Petty Officers Juan Oré Rojas and Carlos Grande Rengifo.
For eleven months, from August 30, 1988 to July 23, 1989, the Peruvian Navy carried out a rescue operation that has in itself a heroic meaning. Because you can be a hero too, working tirelessly to demand a goal in time of peace. The BAP Pacocha refloating operation consisted of six phases that began with a preliminary inspection and evaluation, to finish in the final blowing phase.
"One hundred and fifty men, seventy of them divers worked eight hundred hours, two hundred of preliminary inspection and six hundred of effective diving before refloating the vessel that was one 110 ft deep.
"Crews of the Surface Force, BAP Paita; of the Submarine Force, BAP Iquique; helicopters of the Naval Aviation Force; BAP Unánue, BAP Mejía and BAP Guardián Ríos tugboats participated actively in the various refloating tasks. Special prominence fitted to the BAP Dueñas tugboat that acted as a diving platform. The joint effort of the men together with an effective administration of resources assigned by the Navy, resulted that on Sunday, July 23, 1989, exactly at 14 hours and 35 minutes the bow of the BAP. Pacocha will prelude the feat.
At 16 hours and 28 minutes, BAP Pacocha emerged and after a pronounced list to starboard, it stabilized and was perfectly well straightened on the surface.
The BAP Islay and BAP Arica, type 209 submarines were built at the Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft RG shipyard in Kiel, Germany, and arrived in Callao in 1974 and 1975, constituting the first vessels of its kind to arrive on our coasts out of a total of six. At the beginning of the 80s, two more vessels of type 209 arrived: BAP Casma and BAP Antofagasta. Finally, in 1983, BAP Chipana and BAP Pisagua arrived, completing the number of units planned by the Institution and which are still today the pillar of this Force.
The characteristics of the submarines type 209 are: displacement 1,180 tons in surface and 1,285 in immersion. The propulsion plant consists of 4 MTU diesel engines type 12V493AZ80 and a Siemens electric motor coupled to an axle. Speed 11 knots in surface and 21 knots in immersion. The autonomy at 4 knots is 11,300 miles. Eight 533-millimeter torpedo tubes and capacity for 14 SST 4 filigreed torpedoes shape the armament capacity of these formidable units. The length is 55.90 meters, sleeve 6.30 meters and draft 5.50 meters. The sensors and fire control systems are state-of-the-art. The crew: 35 men.
Proof of this prestige are the annual international operations that take place on the Atlantic coast of the United States, where our units participate in exercises with US Navy ships.
The need to carry out a special maintenance and change of batteries in the submarines type 209 constituted a challenge for the Industrial Service of the Navy (SIMA). Since 1968, the shipyard has carried out large-scale works in this type of ship. Based on its long experience, SIMA has managed to develop efficient procedures that have been used even by other navies, as was the case of the maintenance given to the Colombian submarine type 209 Tayrona between April and May of 1997.
Submarine Type: 209
Built by: Shipyard Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft, Kiel, Alemania
Lenght: 56.03 mts.
Sleeve: 6.24 mts.
Depth: 11,3 mts.
Displacement: 1180 ton. (inmersión)
Speed: Surface 12 knots, Inmersion 22 knots
Weapons: 14 Torpedoes