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France’s Naval Group delivers third offshore patrol vessel to Argentina

A.R.A. Storni OPV Argentine Navy built by French shipbuilder Naval Group delivery ceremony in France on October 13, 2021
Photo: Naval Group

French shipbuilder Naval Group has delivered the third of four offshore patrol vessels (OPV) it is building for the Argentine Navy.

Dubbed A.R.A. Storni, the OPV was delivered on October 13 in the presence of Captain Santiago Villemur, the Argentine Navy representative in France, as well as French government and military officials.

The ceremony took place in Concarneau ahead of the ship’s voyage to Argentina. The delivery was carried out by teams from Naval Group and Kership, a joint-venture between Piriou and Naval Group.

Storni is one of four ships the South American country ordered from Naval Group in 2019. A.R.A. Bouchard, a former OPV operated by the French Navy and known as L’Adroit, was delivered in December 2020. The first newbuild unit, A.R.A Piedrabuena, was delivered in April this year.

With the delivery of A.R.A. Storni, the program keeps progressing as scheduled to conclude with the delivery of the last vessel scheduled for April 2022, the shipbuilder said. A 44-people crew from the Argentine Navy has been trained in the operation and maintenance of the vessel.

“The delivery of this third patrol vessel marks a very important milestone for the program, which was achieved on time despite the health crisis that has marked the last two years,” Jean-Claude Flandrin, program director, said.

“The teams are still mobilized to finalize the training of the crew that will leave for Argentina with the vessel. Once the training is completed, we will concentrate our efforts towards the delivery of the last of the series, which was launched last month.”

The 87-meter ships displace 1,650 tons and have a maximum stated speed of 21 knots. They have a flight deck that accommodates 5-ton helicopters and can deploy two RHIBs. The OPVs are armed with the Leonardo-built Marlin 30 mm weapon station.