Espora-class corvette

The Espora-class corvettes are six warships of the Argentine Navy built in Argentina to the German MEKO 140A16 design, this in turn being based on the Portuguese João Coutinho-class project. The first entered service in 1985 but accidents and lack of funds meant the last was not completed until 2004. The ships currently form the 2nd Corvette Division of the Argentine Navy and their home port is the Puerto Belgrano Naval Base. Although considered by its designers to be frigates, the Espora-class vessels have been classed in Argentina as corvettes.

The Argentine Navy struggles to meet maintenance and training requirements because of financial problems and import restrictions. The Espora class has not been immune – Espora herself spent 73 days in South Africa in late 2012 in a dispute about payment for repairs to its generators. The operational status of Parker and Rosales is not clear, as of November 2012 they were waiting for spares, whilst Spiro lost her sonar in a grounding accident in August 2012. In 2019, Rosales was reported as scheduled to be scrapped. However, one year later training activities were still being conducted on her.

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Construction

The 1974 Naval Constructions National Plan was an initiative by the Argentine Navy to replace old World War II-vintage ships with more advanced warships. The original plan called for six MEKO 360H2 destroyers, four of them to be built in Argentina, but the plan was later modified to include four MEKO destroyers built in Germany and six corvettes built in Argentina, for anti-surface warfare and patrol operations.

The ships were designed by the German shipyard Blohm + Voss as a development of the Portuguese Navy's João Coutinho-class corvettes, designed by the Portuguese naval engineer Rogério de Oliveira in the late 1960s. All the ships of the class were built in Argentina at the AFNE "Río Santiago" shipyard, close to the city of La Plata in Buenos Aires Province. The contract was signed on 1 August 1979 and the pennant numbers P10-P15 were assigned until they were changed to P41-P46 in 1988.

The first three (P-41-P-43) were commissioned between 1985 and 1987, but Parker was delayed u... ...read more

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