The Argentine Navy (Armada de la República Argentina, or
ARA) has agreed to procure up to
five P18-class Offshore Patrol
Vessels (OPVs) from China in addition to an icebreaker. The first two
OPVs will be built in China with the
three remaining units to be built in
Argentina’s Rio Santiago Shipyard.
Each OPV is estimated to cost
around $50 million. The first
Chinese-built OPV will be delivered in 2017.
The procurement of the OPV
revives a long-stalled program in
which the l,800-ton design from
Germany’s Fassmer was once considered the frontrunner. Brazil and
Spain also were considered in the
OPV competition. The new OPVs
will be named the Malvinas class.
The 1,800-ton OPVs are 95
meters (311.6 feet) in length and
powered by German Tognum MTU
20V 4000 diesel engines. It may be
equipped with a 76mm gun and
two 30mm guns, and also can be
outfitted with anti-ship missiles and
an anti-submarine warfare (ASW)
capability. The addition of missiles
and ASW equipment would
upgrade the OPV to a corvette.
The agreement also covers the
joint production of an icebreaker
for the ARA. The construction of
the icebreaker also should start in
the near term as the ARA needs to
replace the aging Almirante Irazar.
The icebreaker is expected to be
completed around 2020, with
shared work in China and Argentina’s Astilleros Rio Santiago.
The icebreaker design may be a
variant of the one in development
in China for its Polar Icebreaker
This agreement follows the October Defense Technology and Industry Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between China and
Argentina. This MoU has opened the
door for China to also supply the
ARA its future surface combatants
and submarines, as well as equipment for the Argentine Air Force and
Army. A major selling point for China
is Argentina’s willingness to pay for
these purchases with commodities,
which has enabled the services to
finally move forward with its armed
forces modernization effort.
The Chinese deal with Argentina
now is the largest in South America,
successfully outmaneuvering its
European competitors. This comes
after a recent visit of Argentina’s president to China and the agreement of
both on further enhancing their
comprehensive strategic partnership.
South Korean Navy
To Receive Second LHD
Hanjin Heavy Industries and Con-
struction (HHIC) has been selected
to build the second Dokdo (Mo-
dified) General Purpose Amphi-
bious Assault Ship (LHD) for the
Republic of Korea Navy.
This vessel follows the first vessel, ROKS Dokdo, which was completed at HHIC in 2007. The second unit (possibly named ROKS
Marado) is expected to displace up
to 20,000 tons and be able to support vertical-takeoff-and-landing
aircraft. The LHD will begin construction by midyear and likely be
commissioned by 2019.
The majority of engineering systems found on the first unit will be
retained on the second LHD.
However, there is expected to be a
graduation to more Korean-built
sensor and weapon systems. These
systems will replace the U.S./
European systems found on the
original ROKS Dokdo.
The Modified Dokdo likely will
be followed by a larger 27,000-ton
LHD that will begin after the commissioning of the ROKS Marado
and be the stepping stone to a
30,000-ton aircraft carrier according to current naval plans.
Argentine Navy to Procure
OPVs, Icebreaker from China
By AMI INTERNATIONAL INC.
The Republic of Korea Navy has ordered a second Dokdo (Modified) General
Purpose Amphibious Assault Ship from Hanjin Heavy Industries and
Construction. The first vessel, ROKS Dokdo shown here, was completed in 2007.