The Argentine Navy last week took delivery in Concarneau, France, of the brand new Ocean Patrol Vessel (OPV) 87 ARA Piedrabuena which is expected to arrive at its future home base in Mar del Plata to start operating along with her sister ship of the Gowind class, the ARA Bouchard, it was reported.
The Bouchard, also built by France's shipyard Naval Group, has been in service for Argentina since 2020 after a spell under the French flag as L'Adroit. The Piedrabuena is the first of three ships built especially for Argentina under a contract whereby future deliveries will continue at a rate of one every six months, it was announced.
Captain Víctor Ortiz received the new vessel on behalf of the Argentine Navy and put Captain Gastón Vega in command.
The director of the program in charge of production, JC Flandrin, thanked those involved in the production of the vessel so that it could be delivered on schedule “despite the extremely complicated health situation around the world.”
Although sisters in design, compared to the Bouchard, the Piedrabuena is better armed and motorized, equipped with an active stabilization system and a bow thruster, and it has also been tested for icy waters like those around Antarctica. According to the French shipyard, Argentine high seas patrols benefit from innovations developed by the Naval Group and tested by the French Navy, which has operated L'Adroit in various oceans for six years,
Among the model's outstanding features are its very high resistance and excellent navigability, 360-degree visibility from the bridge and a single mast for panoramic radar coverage.
The Piedrabuena is equipped with the POLARIS® system and the NiDL® tactical data link system, developed specifically by the Naval Group for missions in the ocean and tested at sea by the French Navy. The Offshore Patrol Vessel can stay at sea for more than three weeks, reach a speed of 20 knots and accommodate a helicopter. Its main armament consists of a 30mm Leonardo cannon and two 12.7mm M2 machine guns. It was designed for a crew of 40, but it can also accommodate additional passengers if necessary, sailing at a maximum speed of 20 knots with a range of 7,000 nautical miles.
These Gowind class vessels have a length of 87 meters, a beam of 14 meters and displace 1,650 tons.