French shipbuilder Naval Group has launched the second Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) named ARA Piedrabuena (P-52) for the Argentinian Navy on 1st October.
This event was scheduled – 2 months before the contractual deadline – despite the adverse conditions related to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the company said in a statement.
Signed on June 22nd, Naval Group’s contract with Argentina calls for the delivery of four OPV 87 Offshore Patrol Vessels including Ex-French Navy ship L’Adroit, as well as the construction of 3 new units with an enhanced design (known as OPV 87).The three new vessels are specially adapted to navigation in iced waters of the Southern Ocean, through a reinforcement of their structure. L’Adroit, named ARA Bouchard (P-51) in Argentine service, was delivered to the Argentine Navy on Dec. 20 last year.
Naval Group is the Prime Contractor, in charge of the Program Management and the relationship with the Argentinian customer, of the general design work of the armed vessel as well as of all the studies, development and integration of the Polaris combat system.
The ARA Piedrabuena and her two new sister ships are being built by Kership, a joint venture between Naval Group and Piriou.
Argentine Navy OPV 87 Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs)
The Argentine Offshore Patrol Vessels are based on the design of L’Adroit and benefit from the innovations proposed by Naval Group and combat-proven with the French Navy.
L’Adroit was used by the French Navy (Marine Nationale) from 2011 to 2018, demonstrating the relevance and operational value of this new class of OPVs in theatres of operations. Involved in several military missions but also fisheries policy and maritime security, especially the Atalante European anti-piracy operation, L’Adroit demonstrated its efficiency and the relevance of the innovations developed by Naval Group to serve navies, special forces, and coast guards.
These innovations include:
• A strong endurance and an excellent sea-worthiness;
• A 360° visibility from the bridge and a unique mast for a panoramic radar coverage;
• The discrete and safe implementation in less than five minutes of fast crafts for Special Forces thanks to an ingenious ramp system at the bow of the patroller;
• Predispositions for the exploitation of air and surface drones.
This range of ships also benefits from Naval Group’s expertise in terms of information and commandment systems, allowing extended surveillance of the maritime space and the automatic detection of suspect behaviors. The vessels are equipped with the Polaris system, specifically developed by Naval Group for state missions at sea and sea-proven by the French Navy.
The vessels will be equipped with iXblue navigation solutions including Marins inertial navigation systems (INS) and Netans data distribution units (DDU).
The vessels are able to stay on the high seas for more than three weeks, to attain a speed of 20 knots and to accommodate a helicopter. Implemented by a reduced crew of forty members, it is also able to accommodate about twenty extra passengers.
• Length: 87 meters
• Beam: 14 meters
• Displacement: 1,650 tons
• Max. Speed: 20 knots
• Accommodation: 59 (crew and passengers)
• Endurance: >7,000 nautical miles
• Boarding capacity: two light 9-meter craft and one 10 ton class helicopter