First new Argentine OPV officially starts construction in France

French government and Piriou officials pose for a photo in front of the first Argentine Navy OPV block. Photo: Gwendal Rouillard/Twitter

While the first block of a new offshore patrol vessel (OPV) for the Argentine Navy was already assembled in Concarneau, French defense minister Florence Parly visited the site of shipbuilder Piriou to mark the official start of construction under the EUR280 million contract.

The visit took place on April 19 and follows a February announcement from Naval Group in which the company said that work on the contract was underway.

The contract between Argentine and France envisions the construction of three new units and the refurbishment of the OPV L’Adroit, which Naval Group developed and built with its own funds and made available to the French Navy in 2011.

L’Adroit will be completely overhauled and upgraded before delivery to Argentina. The other three OPVs will be constructed in France.

OPV87 vessels built for Argentina will measure 87 meters in length, displace 1,650 tons, and have a flight deck capable of accommodating a 10-ton helicopter. They will have increased autonomy due to an improved fresh water production capacity on board.

The three OPVs built in France will be ice-strengthened, to allow navigation in cold waters in the southern seas. All units will be equipped with a tele-operated 30mm cannon.

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