Gorka L Martinez Mezo said:Unfortunately, I don't have much else on the DESCUBIERTAs or their underlying B&V design. Will check the LELA Presse book on th A69s as I don't recall mentioning any relationship between those two!
In any case, PROBABLY the SAN wasn't looking for something too complicated/expensive in the early 1970s. The Portuguse ships were VERY austere and it's evident that if the South Africans were interested they weren't thinking on adding medium range SAMs. Of course, the BAPTISTAs could have received Exocet or any SSM in this class (a couple Gabrile/Skorpionen would have fit nicely for sure), a medium gun of modern design (either an OTO or a French 100mm auto), some AA guns and a EW fit plus a reasonable hull sonar.
My hyphotesis is somewhat confirmed by the fact they did order a couple A69s (another rather austere design). Those ended in Argentina and probably those ships were as build for the SAN when they were handed over, as the Argentine navy was in a hurry to receive them. If that is the case, they were as austere as their French siblings and basically the same except for some changes in electronics and replacing the ASW rocket launcher for another gun (a twin Breda Bofors, although early on they got a recycled open mount which was very vulnerable as shown during the Falklands war).
In the end, the SAN ordered SAARs, which are a fast version of the BAPTISTA/A69 conceptually and probably worse in several areas (habitability, maintenance costs, seakeeping....). They weren't really designed to operate in REALLY open waters like the South Atlalantic/Indian ocean with atrocious weather, had rather short legs and heavy maintenance overheards. A nice ASuW puch, but no ASW capability. IMO, a less balanced election led by the fact not much else could be done at the time.
The B&V design being a template for the A69s is refered to several places on the Net (however reliable that is). Yes, the Argentines purchased the actual SAN vessels as an emergency measure during the Beagle cricis in 78. They later ordered a 3rd vessel.
You are probably correct regarding them being an austere design. I have seen some refs indicating that the weapons compliment was virtually the same as the batistas. On the other hand was was probably distracted by another source refering to an 1800 ton variant of the Batistas which hints at a much more sophisticated weapons fit.
Yep, the SAARs were really only intended for littoral operations in "enclosed seas"! Aparently they were very cramped....there are stories on another site about crew being forced to doss in the aft gun bay