A Glipse Back in Time at Tucumcari

USS Tucumcari (PGH-2) Makes a high-speed run in May 1971. Note the experimental twin 20mm gun mount fitted aft and the forward 40mm Bofors. USN Photo 1150501

A product of Boeing, the experimental hydrofoil gunboat USS Tucumcari (PGH-2) was one of two such prototypes ordered in 1966 by the Navy for testing, the other craft being rival Grumman-built USS Flagstaff (PGH-1).

Just 72-foot overall, the 57-ton Tucumcari could make over 40 knots on its Bristol Proteus gas turbine and really looked like a vision of the future when she arrived on the scene as witnessed by this amazing 20-minute period film:

Stricken 7 November 1973– some 48 years ago today– Tucumcari logged over 1500 “flying” hours during her brief service. Subsequently scrapped, her rival, Flagstaff, was loaned to the Coast Guard for a few years then disposed of sometime later.

One comment

  • In the primary photo, were those deuce-50s just aft of the mast?

    Did they decide that armed choppers backed by a frigate/cutter would be more useful?

    Fast but vulnerable to subsurface threats like any surface vessel, even if some anti-air missiles were added. Last gasp of the PTB era?

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