Argentine Navy’s new OPV launched in France

French defense contractor Naval Group has launched A.R.A. Piedrabuena (P-52), one of three new offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) ordered by the Argentine Navy.

The launching ceremony took place at a shipyard in Concarneau, France, on 1 October 2020.

According to the Naval Group, the launch comes ahead of schedule – 2 months before the contractual deadline – despite challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The contract between Argentine and France includes the construction of three new units and the refurbishment of the OPV L’Adroit, which Naval Group developed and built with its own funds and made available to the French Navy in 2011.

The A.R.A. Piedrabuena and its two sisterships are being built by Kership, a joint venture between Naval Group and Piriou.

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In December 2019, Naval Group officially delivered the first unit, A.R.A Bouchard, during a ceremony held at the Toulon naval base. The unit is the aforementioned refurbished French patrol vessel L’Adroit.

The vessels built for Argentina measure 87 meters in length, displace 1,650 tons, and have a flight deck capable of accommodating a 10-ton helicopter. They will have increased autonomy due to an improved fresh water production capacity on board.

The three OPVs built feature an ice-strengthened design to allow navigation in cold waters in the southern seas. All units are equipped with a tele-operated 30mm cannon.