Bronstein Class

    Considered the first of the "Second Generation" of post-WWII Destroyer Escorts, only two of this class of DE or frigates as they were later classified in 1975, were built, that being the BRONSTEIN and sister ship McCLOY. These two ships can be considered "developmental" vessels as many new systems were tested for future use, such as the hull design, larger bow-mounted SQS-26AX sonar system, and ASW weaponry. While they were new construction ships of FY 1960, that construction was included in the FRAM program as these two ships were built, from the keel-up, with the FRAM improvements and to specifically operate DASH, have the SQS-26 sonar system for target acquisition and all the other improvements that FRAM-1 brought to the Gearings, Sumner and Fletcher class destroyers. The Bronstein class ships operated the QH-50C DASH from commissioning and after their sonar upgrade to the SQS-26AX(R), received the QH-50D variant of DASH.

BRONSTEIN CLASS DESTROYER ESCORTS (DE)

Name of Ship

Hull No.

Builder

Launched

Stricken Date

BRONSTEIN
1037
Avondale Shipyards, Louisiana
31 Mar 1962
13 Dec. 1990
McCLOY
1038
Avondale Shipyards, Louisiana
09 June 1962
17 Dec. 1990


BRONSTEIN CLASS DESTROYER ESCORTS SPECIFICATIONS

Displacement:
2,360 tons standard (2,690 tons full load)
Dimensions:
371' 6" x 40' 5" beam x 23' to bottom of sonar dome
Guns:
1 qty, TWIN 3 inch/50 caliber MK 33 guns operated by a MK 56 radar director and MK 114 Mod 7 ASW Fire-control system using MK 1 target designation system. Single 3" gun was replaced by SQS-15 TASS towed passive hydrophone array sonar on McCLOY.
Weapons:
MK-116 Octuple ASROC launcher without re-load capability.
2 qty, DASH Helicopters, 6 homing torpedo tubes (2 qty, MK 32 Triple Torpedo mounts).
Electronics:
Communications: Equipped with OE-82 Satellite Antenna with SSR-1 receiver.
Air Search Radar: SPS 40
Surface Search: SPS 10
Fire Control: SPG 35
Sonar: SQS 26 AX(R) (bow mounted)
TASS (Towed Array Surveillance System): installed in mid-1970's for trials but later removed.  MK 6 Fanfare torpedo decoy system retained.
Machinery:
1 Westinghouse turbine coupled to 1 de Laval locked-train double reduction gears. 1 shafts, SHP: 20,000 = 26 knots
Boilers:
TWO Foster-Wheeler working pressure 600 PSI at 824 degrees F
Oil Fuel:
3430 barrels NSFO and 167 barrels of Diesel Oil = 480 tons
Radius:
   At 2,360 tons standard   maximum speed is 26 knots with endurance of 4,000 miles at 15 knots
Complement:
Allowance: 196 (16 officers, 180 enlisted men) Accommodation for 20 officers, 200 men.


 

The FATE of the BRONSTEIN class of DE's

    While the BRONSTEIN class essentially was a DEALEY Class DE with the SQS-26 Sonar, ASROC and DASH with one of the original four 3-inch/50 cal guns traded off to make way for the flight deck,  the added top weight of the new ASW equipment and the large bow-mounted Sonar, the BRONSTEIN class became too slow to operate with the ASW task forces which they were designed to operate with and thus no further procurement beyond the initial two vessels was made. The desire to regain the speed yet maintain the ASW capabilities of the BRONSTEIN led to the development of the 19-foot-longer GARCIA class DE whose pressure-fired 1200 PSI boilers allowed their 2 Foster Wheeler/ de Laval geared turbines to generate 35,000 shp resulting in the 27 knots the Navy wanted. However, the BRONSTEIN's service, despite their slower speed, did not shorten their overall Naval careers.

   As pictured at left, the USS BRONSTEIN (DE-1037) seen docked next to the LEAHY class DLG, USS BAINBRIDGE.

    BRONSTEIN was laid down by Avondale Marine, Avondale L.A. on May 16, 1961, launched March 31, 1962, with commissioning on June 15, 1963 she was re-classified a Frigate (FF-1037) on June 30, 1975. She was eventually decommissioned and stricken on December 13, 1990 and sold to Mexico on October 1, 1993 and subsequently renamed "HERMENEGILDO GALEANA (E-42)"

    As of March 2003, BOTH Bronstein class vessels operated out of the Mexican Navy's Pacific Headquarters Base at Manzanillo, Mexico.

The Mexican Navy has renumbered their frigates and some other ships during CY 2002.  Also, the prefix "ARM" has been added to each
ship name, just as the U.S. Navy employs the prefix "USS".  The hull designation "F" for frigate is now used instead of "E" for escort.
Thus, last year BRONSTEIN was renumbered to "ARM HERMENEGILDO GALEANA (F202)"

   Above, is the BRONSTEIN's flight deck. The Flight Deck Station was the guiding activity for the QH-50 drone during visual portions of the flight.  On the BRONSTEIN, the deck control station is at left or on the port side. While BRONSTEIN was built this way, others destroyers that were FRAM'd to receive a flight deck and control station also involved the placement of the deck control station on the right side or Starboard side. Almost EVERY FRAM installation/reconstruction was a custom installation due to the various classes of ship involved as well as differing manufacturers and the various ship yards performing the FRAM modifications. 

   As on other FRAM Destroyers and Destroyer Escorts, the mast assembly changed during FRAM as the DASH antenna's were installed. There were two antenna's- one for the fore (forward) and one for the aft (rear) of the ship. On the Transmitter control panel at the deck and CIC stations, the operator had the capability of selecting which antenna to use, relative to the Drone's position, to maintain maximum control capability of the Drone. 

   Above, the USS Bronstein (DE-1037) in dry dock at San Diego showing the massive SQS-26 bow mounted sonar being installed around December 5, 1963. This sonar gave the detection range required for the DASH weapon system to be used to its designed ASW range- out to 20,000 yards (over 11 miles from ship). 

   The BRONSTEIN (operated in Pacific Fleet) and sister ship USS McCLOY (DE-1038) (operated in Atlantic Fleet) were both originally built with the original SQS-26 bow mounted sonar while older destroyers undergoing FRAM received the SQS-23 system. The Bronstein class of Destroyer Escorts were the smallest ships that could carry the SQS-26 sonar when they were commissioned in 1963 and in fact were purpose-built to be test beds for the installation. They represented a halfway step between the small Dealey class and the larger Garcias class of Destroyer Escorts. The Bronstein class incorporated the same 600 PSI engineering plant as the Dealeys, but interestingly even though they were considerably larger, they were slightly faster than the DEALEY's as well, probably because the large bow-mounted sonar gave them a more efficient hull form. The original sonar systems were miserably unreliable and the SQS-26 AX installed in the Garcias wasn't much better. 

   In the summer of 1967, USS McCLOY returned to dry dock to receive the SQS-26 AX (R) (major retrofit).....both she and BRONSTEIN went straight from SQS-26 to SQS-26 AX(R) without getting the AX variant.
     This system was more reliable, but the BRONSTEIN class was really too small for this sonar system. The equipment rooms filled the entire forward 1/3 of the ship and the crew couldn't fire their forward 3"/50 (twin) Mk 33 guns (seen above-right) without dropping the sonar off the line. The preceding top of the line system was the SQS-23, but the SQS-26 did NOT evolve from the -23.....it was a completely new design to take advantage of bottom-bounce and convergence zone modes.

   With the history of BRONSTEIN above taken into consideration, the USS McCLOY (the only other BRONSTEIN class DE-seen at left) suffered the same fate: After she was reclassified as a Frigate (FF-1038) on June 30, 1975, she was decommissioned on December 14, 1990, stricken December 17, 1990 and sold to Mexico on October 1, 1993 (along with BRONSTEIN) and renamed "NICHOLAS BRAVO (E-40)". As of March 2003, McCLOY still serves in the Mexican Navy as ARM NICHOLAS BRAVO (F201).

Many thanks to the former Sailors of the USS BRONSTEIN and McCLOY for operational information of their ships and also to
 The United States Navy's Program Executive Office, Ships, Navy Inactive Ships Program Office-PMS333 ,
The Ship Transfer and Ship Systems Division (PMS3804) and
The Security Assistance Program Office (PMS380)
 for providing past and current operational data on the BRONSTEIN Class of DASH equipped Destroyer Escorts!

 

 

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