FORD Class Technical Data
Most of the information about the Ford Class has kindly been contributed by Brian Hargreaves, a noted Naval Historian and TCA member. Other information and photographs have kindly been contributed by TCA members David White and Clive Haycocks.
The primary role of the Ford class was to patrol anchorages and harbour approaches on anti submarine duties. It had been intended to mount a single ahead-throwing mortar firing Squid projectiles but, as this did not materialise, a standard 3-barrelled Squid Mark 4 Anti-Submarine mortar was fitted in SHALFORD, linked to a Type 163 anti-submarine sonar set. Other Fords were fitted with two depth charge throwers, plus depth charge racks.
The vessels were a progression from the wartime 70 ft Harbour Defence Motor Launches and 112 ft Fairmile B Motor Launches, both of wooden construction, many of which had been used in similar roles envisaged for the SDBs. Most of these craft had been scrapped or sold since the end of the Second World War.
The lead units were ordered from Yarrows on the Clyde as the parent firm, whilst the others came from a number of small, primarily merchant vessel, builders.
The Fords were built in steel of mainly riveted construction.
Dimensions: Length 117.5 ft x Beam 20t ft X Draft 5ft
Net Weight: 100 tons
Gross Weight: 160 tons
Range: 1800 miles on 15 tons of diesel
Propulsion: 1 x 90HP Foden diesel (Centre Shaft) 2 Paxman diesels 12YHAX 550hp
Speed: 14 knots on outer engines, or 8 knots on centre shaft – not operated together. The centre shaft was used for “Silent, creeping attacks” on bottomed submarines, the attacker being guided by the sonar of a consort vessel.
Externally, the most distinctive feature of the Fords was their twin thin elliptical funnels, set side by side, relatively far aft on the hull. This, combined with their sharply raked bows, gave them a “lean and mean” appearance, rather reminiscent of the motor torpedo boats and motor gunboats of WWII, although somewhat lacking the heavy armament and high speed of the latter.
Several ships were built as Patrol Craft for Commonwealth navies:
Three were ordered by the South African Navy (RIJGER, HAERLEM and OOSTERLAND) in addition to two that were transferred.
Two were ordered for the Ghanaian Navy (ELMINA and KOMENDA).
One was ordered for the Nigerian Navy in 1960 (ENUGU)
The Indian Navy built three similar craft locally (ABHAY, AJAY and AKSHAY).