Learn more about Chilean Navy
The Chilean Navy (Armada de Chile) is the naval force of Chile.
The beginnings of the Chilean Navy date back to 1817, the same year that Chile was proclaimed an independent nation. A year before, following the Battle of Chacabuco, General Bernardo O'Higgins prophetically declared “this victory and another hundred shall be of no significance if we do not gain control of the sea”.
This led to the development of Chile’s Naval Power, and the first legal resolutions outlining the organization of the institution were created. Chile’s First National Fleet, the Academy for Young Midshipmen (predecessor of the current Naval Academy), were founded, as were the Marine Corps and the Supply Commissary.
Thomas Cochrane was the first commander of the Chilean navy, and operated in the war against loyalist Peru. Later he took control of the fortress of Valdivia, but failed in his attempt to conquer Chiloe Island.
The Chilean Navy’s lifelong allegiance to its country has been shaped throughout the years by notable men who, when necessary, have been ready to sacrifice their lives.
The most outstanding example of this commitment is that of Commander Arturo Prat, whose name went down in history for the exceptional heroism he demonstrated at the Naval Action at Iquique, on 21 May 1879, during the War against Peru and Bolivia (War of the Pacific).
Prat, while in charge of the fragile corvette Esmeralda, fought to the end with the imposing Peruvian ironclad Huascar, despite the inferiority of his own forces. Rather than surrender to the enemy, he valiantly gave his life alongside his crew.
Prat’s act of bravery is commemorated every year on 21 May, the only national holiday in Chile to recall a military feat. On that day, the country pays tribute to the courage shown by Prat and his men, whose deeds led to victory in this war. The Chilean Navy’s lifelong allegiance to its country has been shaped throughout the years by notable men who, when necessary, have been ready to give up their lives.
Nevertheless, throughout Chile’s naval history, other outstanding individuals and great deeds have contributed to making the Institution what it is today.
The Chilean Navy has tended to be a highly professional force which has regularly purchased modern warships from Britain.
The Chilean Navy has fought the following wars:
- War against the Peru-Bolivian Confederation (1836-1839). See (War of the Confederation)
- War against Spain (allied with Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru) (1865-1866). See (Chincha Islands War)
- War of the Pacific (1879-1884). See (War of the Pacific)
The 25,000-person navy, including 5,200 marines, is directed by Adm. Rodolfo Codina Díaz. Of the fleet of 66 surface vessels, only six (soon to be increased to eight) are major combatant ships and they are based in Valparaíso. The navy operates its own aircraft for transport and patrol; there are no fighter or bomber aircraft. The Navy also operates three (soon to be four) submarines based in Talcahuano.
The Chilean Navy’s most important asset is the 22,000 men and women that develop, maintain and operate the naval and maritime resources and land-based support installations.
The men and women who comprise the Chilean Navy all share a set of clearly recognizable traits, that is, their commitment to serving their country, their values, their devotion to tradition and family principles, as well as a high level of professionalism. Apart from being responsible for defending the nation’s sovereignty and its territory, the Chilean Navy is also involved in serving the public and supporting the country’s citizens by means of assignments that have a direct effect upon Chile’s development.
The Naval ships permit the integration of Chile’s Pacific and Southern island regions, thus integrating its disjointed geography and acting as a binding agent for Chile’s tri-continental features. The transport of passengers, especially during the school year or in cases of emergency, together with the supply of provisions and fuel, are of key importance to the inhabitants of these insular zones.
The Institution regularly carries out civil operations whereby Navy professionals provide social assistance and health care to the civilian population, and provide support in cases of natural catastrophe.
It also undertakes preventative education campaigns for Chile’s population on issues that include security on beaches and seaside resorts and measures to be taken in the case of a tsunami.
The most important naval bases and supply depots are (from north to south): Iquique, Easter Island, Valparaíso, Concepción, Puerto Montt, Punta Arenas, and the of Puerto Williams, and Base General Bernardo O’Higgins Riquelme in the Antarctica, both in the Atlantic Ocean.
 Order of Battle
- 2 Type 209 submarines
- 2 Scorpène class submarines
- 2 Leander class frigates
- Almirante Condell
- Almirante Lynch
- 2 L class frigate
- Almirante Latorre (ex- HNLMS Jacob van Heemskerck)
- Capitan Prat (ex- HNLMS Witte de With)
- 1 M class frigate
- Blanco Encalada (ex- HNLMS Abraham van der Hulst)
- 1 Type 22 frigate
- Almirante Williams (ex- HMS Sheffield)
- 1 Type 23 frigate
- Almirante Cochrane (ex- HMS Norfolk)
- 7 Missile equipped fast patrol craft
- 5 OPV
- 5 Coastal patrol craft
- 10 dabur type inshore patrol craft
- 3 Amphibious landing ships
- 12 support ships
- 5 AS532SC Cougar anti-ship and Anti-submarine helicopterss
- Equipped with AM-39 Exocet, Block II
- ASW Torpedoes
- 5 Eurocopter Dauphins from the French Navy.
- 4 P-3ACH Orion.
 Future projects
A major modernisation programme is in progress
- 1 M class frigate
- Almirante Riveros (ex- HNLMS Tjerk Hiddes)
Due to be delivered in April 2007.
- 2 ex- Royal Navy Type 23 frigates.
- Almirante Lynch (ex- HMS Grafton)
- Due to be delivered in 2007.
- Almirante Condell (ex- HMS Marlborough)
- Due to be delivered in 2008.
- Almirante Lynch (ex- HMS Grafton)
The remaining two Leander class frigates will be striken after the arrival of their replacements. In spite of their age, due to their excellent condition and constant modernization, both Leanders may be put up for sale.
|Rank||Name||Took Office||Left Office||Position|
|Colonel||Francisco de la Lastra de la Sotta||1812||1814||Valparaiso governor|
|Lieutenant Colonel||Rudecindo Alvarado||1817||1817||Valparaiso governor|
|Colonel||Francisco de la Lastra de la Sotta||1817||1818||Valparaiso governor|
|Navy Captain 1st Class||Manuel Blanco Encalada||1818||1821||Navy General Commander|
|Colonel||José Ignacio Zenteno del Pozo||1821||1825||Navy General Commander|
|General||Francisco de la Lastra de la Sotta||1825||1829||Navy General Commander|
|Division General||José María de la Cruz Prieto||1829||1831||Navy General Commander|
|José Matías López Orrego||1831||1833||Navy General Commander|
|Colonel||Diego Portales Palazuelos||1833||1834||Navy General Commander|
|Colonel||Ramón de la Cavareda Trucios||1834||1837||Navy General Commander|
|Colonel||Victorino Garrido||1837||1842||Navy General Commander|
|General||José María de la Cruz Prieto||1842||1843||Navy General Commander|
|Commodore||Robert Winthrop Simpson||1843||1844||Navy General Commander|
|Division General||José Joaquín Prieto Vial||1844||1845||Navy General Commander|
|Navy Captain||Robert Winthrop Simpson||1845||1846||Navy General Commander|
|General||Santiago Aldunate Toro||1846||1847||Navy General Commander|
|Vice Admiral||Manuel Blanco Encalada||1847||1852||Navy General Commander|
|Rear Admiral||Robert Winthrop Simpson||1852||1853||Navy General Commander|
|Julián Riesco Droguett||1853||1856||Navy General Commander|
|Domingo Espiñera Riesco||1856||1858||Navy General Commander|
|Manuel Valenzuela Castillo||1858||1858||Navy General Commander|
|Jovino Novoa Vidal||1859||1859||Navy General Commander|
|General||Juan Vidaurre-Leal Morla||1859||1859||Navy General Commander|
|Colonel||Cornelio Saavedra Rodríguez||1860||1860||Navy General Commander|
|General||Santiago Aldunate Toro||1861||1864||Navy General Commander|
|Juan Ramón Lira||1864||1865||Navy General Commander|
|Vicente Villalón||1865||1865||Navy General Commander|
|Juan Ramón Lira||1865||1866||Navy General Commander|
|José María de la Cruz Salvo||1867||1867||Navy General Commander|
|Commodore||José Anacleto Goñi Prieto||1867||1868||Navy General Commander|
|Juan Ramón Lira||1868||1868||Navy General Commander|
|Commodore||José Anacleto Goñi Prieto||1869||1870||Navy General Commander|
|Francisco Echaurren García-Huidobro||1870||1876||Navy General Commander|
|Eulogio Altamirano Aracena||1876||1879||Navy General Commander|
|Rear Admiral||José Anacleto Goñi Prieto||1879||1880||Navy General Commander|
|Eulogio Altamirano Aracena||1880||1880||Navy General Commander|
|Commodore||Oscar Viel Toro||1881||1883||Navy General Commander|
|Domingo Toro Herrera||1884||1885||Navy General Commander|
|Rear Admiral||Juan José Latorre Benavente||1886||1887||Navy General Commander|
|Rear Admiral||Luis Uribe Orrego||1887||1889||Navy General Commander|
|Rear Admiral||Juan Williams Rebolledo||1890||1891||Navy General Commander|
|Rear Admiral||Oscar Viel Toro||1891||1891||Navy General Commander|
|Rear Admiral||Francisco Javier Molinas Gacitúa||1892||1892||Navy General Commander|
|Rear Admiral||Luis Anacleto Castillo Goñi||1893||1897||Navy General Commander|
|Vice Admiral||Jorge Montt Alvarez||1897||1913||Navy General Director|
|Vice Admiral||Luis Alberto Goñi Simpson||1913||1916||Navy General Director|
|Vice Admiral||Lindor Pérez Gacitúa||1916||1916||Navy General Director|
|Vice Admiral||Joaquín Muñoz Hurtado||1916||1922||Navy General Director|
|Vice Admiral||Francisco Nef Jara||1922||1924||Navy General Director|
|Vice Admiral||Salustio Valdés Cortés||1924||1925||Navy General Director|
|Vice Admiral||Luis Langlois Vidal||1925||1925||Navy General Director|
|Vice Admiral||Juan Schroeder Peña||1925||1927||Navy General Director|
|Vice Admiral||Jose Toribio Merino Saavedra||1927||1928||Navy Inspector General|
|Rear Admiral||Felipe Wiegand Rodríguez||1928||1929||Navy Inspector General|
|Rear Admiral||Alejandro García Castelblanco||1929||1930||Navy Inspector General|
|Vice Admiral||Hipólito Marchant Morales||1930||1931||Navy Inspector General|
|Rear Admiral||Alejandro García Castelblanco||1931||1931||Navy Inspector General|
|Vice Admiral||Hipólito Marchant Morales||1931||1932||Navy Inspector General|
|Rear Admiral||Edgardo von Schröeders Sarratea||1932||1932||Navy Inspector General|
|Rear Admiral||Carlos Jouanne de la Motte du Portail||1932||1932||Navy General Director|
|Rear Admiral||Luis Alvarez Jaramillo||1932||1932||Navy General Director|
|Rear Admiral||Calisto Rogers Ceas||1932||1932||Navy General Director|
|Vice Admiral||Olegario Reyes del Río||1932||1938||Navy Commander-in-chief|
|Vice Admiral||Luis Alvarez Jaramillo||1938||1938||Navy Commander-in-chief|
|Vice Admiral||Julio Allard Pinto||1938||1943||Navy Commander-in-chief|
|Vice Admiral||Vicente Merino Bielich||1943||1947||Navy Commander-in-chief|
|Vice Admiral||Emilio Daroch Soto||1947||1948||Navy Commander-in-chief|
|Vice Admiral||Carlos Torres Hevia||1948||1952||Navy Commander-in-chief|
|Vice Admiral||Danilo Bassi Galleguillos||1952||1952||Navy Commander-in-chief|
|Vice Admiral||Enrique Lagreze Echavarría||1952||1954||Navy Commander-in-chief|
|Vice Admiral||Francisco O'Ryan Orrego||1954||1958||Navy Commander-in-chief|
|Vice Admiral||Leopoldo Fontaine Nakin||1958||1962||Navy Commander-in-chief|
|Vice Admiral||Hernán Cubillos Leiva||1962||1964||Navy Commander-in-chief|
|Vice Admiral||Jacobo Neumann Etienne||1964||1966||Navy Commander-in-chief|
|Vice Admiral||Ramón Barros González||1966||1968||Navy Commander-in-chief|
|Vice Admiral||Fernando Porta Angulo||1968||1970||Navy Commander-in-chief|
|Vice Admiral||Hugo Tirado Barros||1970||1970||Navy Commander-in-chief|
|Vice Admiral||Raúl Montero Cornejo||1970||1973||Navy Commander-in-chief|
|Admiral||José Toribio Merino Castro||1973||1990||Navy Commander-in-chief|
|Admiral||Jorge Martínez Busch||1990||1997||Navy Commander-in-chief|
|Admiral||Jorge Patricio Arancibia Reyes||1997||2001||Navy Commander-in-chief|
|Admiral||Miguel Angel Vergara Villalobos||2001||2005||Navy Commander-in-chief|
|Admiral||Rodolfo Codina Díaz||2005||Present||Navy Commander-in-chief|