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Argentina receives final offshore patrol vessel from France

A.R.A. Contraalmirante Cordero
Photo: Naval Group

French shipbuilder Naval Group has delivered the last of the four offshore patrol vessel (OPV) it built for the Argentine Navy.

A.R.A. Contraalmirante Cordero (OPV 87) was delivered in a ceremony at the KERSHIP yard in Concarneau, north-western France, on April 13.

The delivery and handover ceremony of the last vessel of the series marks the remarkably fast completion of a program that started in 2019. Within three years, the KERSHIP joint venture between Piriou and Naval Group delivered three brand new and one refurbished OPV to Argentina.

Naval Group noted that the program met all its deadlines. The first of four ships, A.R.A. Bouchard, previously served in the French Navy as ex-L’Adroit. It was delivered in December 2019 following a ten-month period of upgrade and modernization works.

The second and third offshore patrol vessels A.R.A Piedrabuena and A.R.A Storni were delivered in April and October 2021.

Photo: Naval Group

“We are conscious that delivering four ships in three years, training the crews and providing the associated logistics services was a real challenge. Our thanks and gratitude go to all the men and women of Naval Group and its industrial partners who have worked tirelessly to achieve this feat. These ships are already contributing to the defense of Argentina’s sovereign interests by enabling the Argentine Armada to carry out its missions at sea,” Captain Santiago Villemur, Argentine Navy representative in France, said.

“It is with great pride and emotion that we are delivering the last vessel of the series to Argentina on the exact date stipulated in the contract and are witnessing the raising of the Argentinean flag in Brittany for the fourth time,” Stéphanie Giroud, director of the program at Naval Group added.

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.