French shipbuilder, Naval Group has delivered an Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV), ARA Bouchard, to the Argentine Navy on Dec. 20, two months ahead of schedule.
The Ex-French Navy ship, called L’Adroit in French service, was handed over after ten months of upgrade and modernization works at Naval Group facility in France. The vessel was originally designed and developed by Naval Group from its own funds.
Since mid-February, Naval Group’s teams have carried out a major technical shutdown in order to maximize the potential of the ship for the Argentine Navy and to adapt it to their needs.
Major operations have been carried out notably to modify the combat system in order to make it compliant to the customer’s needs, to enhance the ship’s capacities by modifying the propulsion system, to increase its autonomy by reinforcing its freshwater production capacity and to equip the ship with a 30 mm gun.
The Argentine Navy’s future crew also received specific navigation training from Naval Group’s team. Naval Group also provided associated logistical and documentary support.
“This project is a great pride for the Naval Group’ Services teams, who met the Argentinian Navy’s expectations”, said Nathalie Smirnov, Naval Group Services Director. “The technical and industrial operations have been achieved ahead of time even though this program involved a complete overhaul of the platform rather than a traditional in-service support operation.”
“We are very proud to deliver the first ship to the Argentinian navy ahead of schedule. This is another demonstration of Naval Group’s commitment towards its customers and of its capability to respond to their operational needs”, said Alain Guillou, Naval Group Senior Executive Vice President.
“This is the beginning of a long-term relationship with the Argentinian Navy”, said Olivier Michel, Vice President Sales Latin America.
The delivery of ARA Bouchard falls within the scope of the contract concluded with Argentina, which has chosen in February to equip its Navy with four OPV 87 Offshore Patrol Vessels including Ex-French Navy ship L’Adroit. The three other vessels will be delivered from April 2021 at the pace of one unit every six months.
The contract is being executed by Kership, a joint venture between Naval Group and France’s Chantiers Piriou SAS.
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.
Argentine OPV 87 Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs)
The Argentine Offshore Patrol Vessels benefit from the innovations proposed by Naval Group and combat-proven with the French Navy.
• 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 ARA Bouchard is thus equipped with the Polaris system, specifically developed by Naval Group for state missions at sea and sea-proven by the French Navy.
It was announced earlier this month that, the vessels will be equipped with iXblue navigation solutions including Marins inertial navigation systems (INS) and Netans data distribution units (DDU).
The vessel is 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.
ARA Bouchard Specs
• 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 crafts of 9 meters and one 10 ton class helicopter