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France’s Naval Group launches third OPV for Argentine Navy

ARA Storni
Photo: Naval Group

French shipbuilder Naval Group has launched the third of four offshore patrol vessels (OPV 87) it is building for the Argentine Navy under a contract from 2018.

The future OPV A.R.A. Storni was launched on May 10, after being partially built in Lanester by Kership Lorient and assembled in Concarneau by Piriou Shipyards.

While Storni is the third ship in its class, it is actually the second newbuild ship. The first unit was originally originally leased to the French Navy between 2012 and 2018, before being transferred to Argentina in 2019.

Storni is scheduled for delivery to the South American country in October this year, some six months after the second OPV – A.R.A. Piedrabuena – was handed over in April this year.

“The program continues to progress at a very steady pace, with the delivery on time of a vessel every six months, despite the global sanitary situation. The delivery of the A.R.A. Storni should take place in October this year, in line with the contract schedule,” Jean-Claude Flandrin, Naval Group program director, said.

Photo: Naval Group

Like Piedrabuena, the new OPV is better armed and motorized than the lead ship in the class. It is also equipped with an active stabilization system and a bow thruster, in addition to being ice proven for navigation in the cold waters of Antarctica.

The OPVs measure 87 meters in length and have a range of 8,000 nautical miles. They have a top speed of 21 knots and can remain underway for three weeks. Thanks to a landing pad, they can accommodate smaller helicopters and unmanned aerial systems.

The ships are armed with the Leonardo-built Marlin 30 mm weapon station and can deploy two 9-meter light craft.