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The Navy of the Argentine Republic or Armada of the Argentine Republic ( — ARA) is the navy of Argentinamarker. It is one of the three branches of the Argentine Armed Forces, together with the Army and the Air Force.

The Argentine Navy day is celebrated on May 17, anniversary of the victory achieved in 1814 in the Battle of Montevideo over the Spanish fleet during the war of Independence.

Ships of the Argentine Navy are designated with the prefix ARA before its name.



The Argentine Navy was created in the aftermath of the revolution of May 25, 1810. Not until 1814, under the leadership of the Irishman Lt. Colonel (Navy) William Brown did the Argentine Navy become a decisive player in the war for independence from Spainmarker.

In the late 19th century, the Argentine Army began modernizing itself. Although Argentinamarker remained neutral in both world wars, the country's Navy was a force to be reckoned with. In the postwar period, Naval Aviation and Marine Corps units were created and developed. With Brazilmarker, Argentina is one of but two South American countries to have operated two aircraft carriers effectively.

Beagle conflict

Falklands War

During the 1982 Falklands conflict termed by the Argentines Guerra de las Malvinas / Guerra del Atlántico Sur the Main Argentine Naval Fleet consisted of modernised World War II era ships (1 Guppy class patrol submarine, one British built Colussus class carrier, a cruiser and four destroyers ) supported with new ones (2 Type 42 class destroyers, 3 French built corvettes and one German built 209 Class submarines). This fleet was supported by eight tankers and transports as well as two ice breakers.

The new German design MEKO class destroyers, corvettes and Thyssen-Nordseewerke (TR-1700) submarines were still under construction.

Despite leading the invasion of the Falkland Islandsmarker, in both strategic and tactical aspects the Argentine fleet played only a small part in the subsequent conflict with the Royal Navy. After HMS Conqueror sank the ARA General Belgrano, the Argentine surface fleet did not venture from a 12 mile (22.2 km) coastal limit imposed by the British due to the threat posed by the Royal Navy fleet of nuclear powered submarines (SSNs).

The Argentine Navy's contributions to the war were with naval aviation and its Super Étendards armed with Exocet missiles, sinking HMS Sheffieldmarker and the Atlantic Conveyormarker; the A-4Q Skyhawk sinking HMS Ardent ; and the Marines, with the 5th Marine Corps Battalion role at Mount Tumbledown. In addition, a landbased exocet-battery outside Port Stanley scored a direct hit on HMS Glamorgan. Naval aviation also done intensive maritime patrol searching the British Fleet for the strike aircraft whilst their transports maintain the logistical support.

The ARA San Luis submarine also played a strategic role, and was a real concern to the British, although she scored no hits. The submarine ARA Santa Femarker, after a successful resupply mission, was attacked and disabled off South Georgiamarker, where her crew then surrendered along with the Argentine detachment at Grytvikenmarker. She was later scuttled by the British.


The core of the fleet was reformed with the retirement of all the World War II era Fletcher and Gearing class destroyer and their replacement with the MEKO 360 and 140 classes designed by the German shipyard Blohm + Voss.

Also, the submarine force greatly reinforced their assets with the introduction of the Thyssen Nordseewerke (TR-1700) class. Although the original program called for six units with the last four to be built in Argentina, only the two built in Germanymarker were delivered.

The amphibious force was drastically affected with the retirement of their only landing ship LST Q-42 ARA Cabo San Antonio and replacement by modified commercial cargo ships.This situation was to be improved during 2006 with the delivery made by Francemarker of the first of the LPD Ouragan but the whole operation was placed in stand by the Argentine Government due to asbestos concerns.
France also transferred the Durance, now B-1 ARA Patagonia, multi-product replenishment ship (AOR) enhancing the capabilities of the fleet.

In 1988 the A-4Q Skyhawks were withdrawn leaving the Super Étendard as the only fighter jets in the navy inventory. The already paid A-4Hs bought in Israelmarker as their replacement could not been delivered due the embargo imposed by the United Statesmarker after the War. Instead IAI used the money to refurbish the S-2E Trackers to the S-2T Turbo Tracker current variant.

In the 1990s, the embargo was lifted and the Lockheed L-188 Electras (civilian aircraft converted for maritime patrol) were finally retired and replaced with P-3B Orions and civilian Beechcraft King Air Model 200 were locally converted to the MP variant.

In 2000 the aircraft carrier ARA Veinticinco de Mayo was decommissioned without replacement, although the navy maintains the air group of Super Étendards jets and S-2 Tracker that routinely operates from Brazilian Navy aircraft carrier São Paulo or United States Navy carriers when they are in transit in the south Atlantic.

Present day

Argentina was the only Latin American country to participate in the 1991 Gulf War sending a destroyer and a corvette in first term and a supply ship and another corvette later to participate on the United Nations blockade and sea control effort of the gulf. The success of Operación Alfil (" ") as it was known, with more than 700 interceptions and 25,000 miles sailed on the operations theatre helped to overcome the so-called "Malvinas syndrome".

Also, on 2003, as the first time, the Argentine Navy (classified as major non-NATO ally) interoperated with an United States Navy battlegroup when destroyer ARA Sarandi (D-13) joined the USS Enterprisemarker Carrier Strike Group and Destroyer Squadron 18 as a part of Exercise Solid Step during their tour in the Mediterranean Seamarker.

Today, the Argentine Navy participates in joint exercises with other friendly navies like Brazilmarker, United Statesmarker, Spainmarker, Francemarker, Canadamarker, South Africa, Italymarker, Uruguaymarker, and since the 1990s, Chilemarker. Examples of such annual maneuvers are UNITAS, ARAEX, TEMPEREX, FRATERNO and ATLASUR. Joint NCAGS exercises, such as TRANSOCEANIC, TRANSAMERICA and COAMAS are also routinely held, in order to develop a common operational doctrine. The NCAGS Organisation is headed by the Naval Shipping Command (Comando Naval de Transito Marítimo), acting as Local Operational Control Command ("COLCO in Spanish) with two subordinate Operational Control Authorities (OCA's) and several Naval Control of Shipping Officers (NCSO's) bureaus along the Coastline, both Navy and Coast Guard manned.

ARA Ciudad de Rosario (Q-62) auxiliary ship.
ARA Francisco de Gurruchaga (A-3) auxiliary ship.
[[Image:Q61 Ciudad de Zárate.jpg|180px|thumb|[[ARA Ciudad de Zárate (Q-61)]|ARA Ciudad de Zárate (Q-61)]] auxiliary ship.]]
ARA Alférez Sobral (A-9).

Every year in conjunction with the Chilean Navy they join in the Patrulla Antártica Naval Combinada ( ) to guarantee safety to all touristic and scientific ships that are in transit within the Antarctic Peninsulamarker.

Sea Fleet

The surface fleet of the Argentine Navy is under the command of the Sea Fleet Command ( : COmando de la Flota de Mar — COFM).

Combat ships

Destroyers (DDG)

Frigates (classified by the Argentine Navy as "corvettes")

Large Patrol Vessels

Fast Attack Craft

Patrol Boats

Support ships

Supply ship (AOR)

Amphibious Command Ship (LCC)
  • ARA Hércules - formerly a Type 42 destroyer, reconverted to fast Marine transport and command vessel.

Amphibious Assault Vessel (LKA)

Icebreaker (AGOS)

Auxiliary Ships

School Ship

Submarine Force

The COFS ( : COmando de Fuerza de Submarinos) consists of the following submarines:

Aviación Naval (Naval Aviation)

The Naval Aviation Command is abbreviated COAN ( : COmando de Aviación Naval), not CANA as a commonly erroneous acronym in English bibliography. COAN has 5 main airbases ( : Base 'Aeronaval): Comandante Espora (BACE), Almirante Zar (BAAZ), Punta Indio (BAPI), naval air stations Ezeiza (ETAE) and Almirante Quijada (BARD) at Río Grande, Tierra del Fuegomarker.

Fuerza Aeronaval 1 (Naval Aviation Force 1)

The Fuerza Aeronaval 1 (FAE1) is based at navy airbase Punta Indio, near La Platamarker, Buenos Aires.

  • Escuela de Aviación Naval (ESAN) (Naval Aviation School) : Beechraft T-34C-1 Mentor
  • 1ra Escuadrilla Aeronaval de Ataque (EA41) (1st Naval Attack Sqd) : In reserve, no aircraft assigned.
  • Agrupación Aeronaval Aerofotográfica (APFT) (Naval Air photograph Sqd) : Beechcraft B200 Super King Air in the reconnaissance, training and transport roles.
  • Escuadrilla Aeronaval de Vigilancia Marítima (EA1V) (Maritime Surveillance Naval Sqd) : Beechcraft B200 Cormorán, locally converted for the maritime patrol role. Based at naval air Station Punta Indio (BAPI)

Fuerza Aeronaval 2 (Naval Aviation Force 2)

The Fuerza Aeronaval 2 (FAE2) is based at navy airbase Comandante Espora, near Bahía Blancamarker and concentrate all the embarked aircraft.

  • 2da Escuadrilla Aeronaval de Helicópteros (EAH2) (2nd naval Helicopters Sqd) : Sikorsky S-61 D4 H-3 Sea King and Agusta AS-61 Sea King
  • 3ra Escuadrilla Aeronaval de Helicópteros (EAH3) (3rd naval Helicopters Sqd) : Bell UH-1 Iroquois, assigned to the marines - transferred to the army on February 7 2008.

Fuerza Aeronaval 3 (Naval Aviation Force 3)

The Fuerza Aeronaval Numero 3 (FAE3) is based at navy airbase Almirante Zar, near Trelew to perform sea control and Search and rescue duties along the Argentine coast from the Uruguayanmarker border to the Antarctic Peninsulamarker.

  • Escuadrilla Aeronaval de Exploración (EA6E) (Exploration naval Sqd) : Lockheed P-3B Orion
  • 2da Escuadrilla Aeronaval de Sostén Logístico Móvil (EA52) (2nd naval Transport Sqd) : Based at naval air Station Ezeiza (ETAE) at Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires, they use Fokker F28 Mk.3000C Fellowship for supporting all navy units.

Naval aircraft inventory

The COAN operates a total of 71 aircraft, of which 41 are fixed-wing.

In addition to naval aviation, a small air fleet is maintained by the Argentine Coast Guard.

Naval Infantry

The Naval Infantry of the Armada of the Argentine Republicmarker (Infantería de Marina de la Armada de la República Argentina, IMARA) is a part of the Argentine Navy.Argentine Marines have the same rank insignia and titles as the rest of the Navy. It is composed of a Fleet Marine Force (one Marine Battalion, plus artillery, air defence, communications, logistics, engineer and vehicle units), a Southern Marine Force (2 Marine Battalions), a River Operations Battalion, a Special ForcesUnit and several Security Battalions and Companies.



Rank insignia consists of a variable number of gold-braid stripes worn on the sleeve cuffs or on shoulderboards. Officers may be distinguished by the characteristic loop of the top stripe (in the manner of British Royal Navy officers). Combat uniforms may include metal pin-on or embroidered collar rank insignia. Rank insignia is worn on the chest when in shipboard or flying coveralls.

Officers are commissioned in either the Command (line) Corps (those who attend the Escuela Naval Militar- Naval College) or the Staff Corps (Professional Officers who only attend a short course in the Naval Academy after getting a civilian degree, except for the Paymasters who indeed attend the Naval College).

The Line Corps is divided into three branches: the Naval branch (including Surface Warfare, Submarine Warfare and Naval Aviation sub-branches), the Marine Corps branch, and Executive -Engineering- branch. Line Corps' reserve officers are considered Restricted Line ( Escalafon Complementario) officers in any of the Warfare Communities (Surface, Submarine, Marines, Aviation and Propulsion), and can only raise to OF-4 rank ( Capitan de Fragata).

All Line Corps officers were distinctive branch/sub-branch insignia on the right breast. Some Staff Corps officers also wear specialization badges (Aviation, Surface, Submarine and Marines). Other common insignia is the Naval War College insignia, parachute wings, etc., also worn on the right breast. Medals and Ribbons, if awarded, are worn on the left breast, just above the chest pocket.The rank insignia of Staff Corps' officers is placed over a background color denoting the wearer's field, such as purple (Chaplains), blue (Engineers), red (Health Corps), white (Paymasters), green (Judge Advocate Officers), brown (Technical Officers, promoted from the ranks) and gray (special branch). The background color for Command Corps officers is navy blue/black.


Following a global trend, Argentine armed forces have outlawed beardssince the 1920s. This was reinforced in the Cold Warera when they were deemed synonymous with leftist leanings. The only exception were Antarcticservice within the three armed forces as a protection from cold weather, and submarineservice within the Navyas a way of saving water. However, shaving was mandatory upon return to headquarters.Before the end of XX centurythe Navy became a singularity within the Argentine armed forces as Adm. Joaquín Stella, then Navy Chief of Staffallowed beards in 2000 for officers with ranks above Teniente de Corbeta(Ensign), according to Section of the Navy Uniform regulations (R.A-1-001). Adm. Stella gave the example himself by becoming the first bearded Argentine admiral since Adm. Sáenz Valiente in the 1920s. Non commissioned officers can wear beards from Suboficial Segundorank, and upwards.Protocol still requires officers to appear clean-shaved on duty, thus forcing those who choose to sport beards to grow them while on leave. Both full beards and goatees are allowed, as long as they profer a professional, non-eccentric image.Nowadays, bearded Argentinemarker naval officers and senior NCO's are a relatively common sight.

Enlisted men and Non-Commissioned Officers

Other ranks' insignia (not including Seamen) is worn on either shoulderboards or breast or sleeve patches. First and Second Seamen wear their insignia on their sleeves. The shoulderboards denote the wearer's specialty.


  1. Historia de la Armada Argentina (in spanish)
  2. Air Forces Monthly April 2008 issue, pp.18.
  3. "", Aerospace Source Book 2007, Aviation Week & Space Technology, January 15, 2007.

Further reading

  • Guia de los buques de la Armada Argentina 2005-2006. Ignacio Amendolara Bourdette, ISBN 987-43-9400-5, Editor n/a. (Spanish/English text)

See also

External links

In service
Aérospatiale SA 316 Alouette III
SA 316B
Beechcraft Super King Air
Transport / Special missions
Beechcraft T-34C-1 Mentor
Bell 205
Utility helicopter
Dassault-Breguet Super Étendard
4 out of service
Embraer EMB-326
Trainer / Attack
Withdrawn from service in 2008
Eurocopter AS 555 Fennec
Utility helicopter
AS 555
Fokker F28 Fellowship
Grumman S-2 Tracker
Maritime Patrol / Anti-submarine
S-2T Turbo Tracker
Originally S-2G, were converted to turbo-prop at IAI
Lockheed P-3 Orion
Maritime patrol
Pilatus / Fairchild PC-6 Porter
Sikorsky S-61 Sea King

Anti-submarine helicopter
Agusta ASH-3H


Sikorsky S-61R
SAR / Transport helicopter
Argentine Rank (in Spanish)
Argentine Rank (in English)
Equivalent Royal Navy Rank
Equivalent US Navy Rank
NATO Rank Code
Rear Admiral
Rear Admiral (Upper Half)
Rear Admiral
Rear Admiral (Lower Half)
Comodoro de Marina
Naval Commodore
No equivalent - honorary rank
No equivalent - honorary rank
Capitán de Navío
Ship-of-the-Line Captain
Capitán de Fragata
Frigate Captain
Capitán de Corbeta
Corvette Captain
Lieutenant Commander
Teniente de Navío
Ship-of-the-Line Lieutenant
Teniente de Fragata
Frigate Lieutenant
Lieutenant (Junior Grade)
Teniente de Corbeta
Corvette Lieutenant
Acting Sub-Lieutenant
no equivalent
Argentine Rank (in Spanish)
Argentine Rank (in English)
Equivalent RN Rank (approximate)
Suboficial Mayor
Sub-Officer Major
Warrant Officer
Suboficial Principal
Principal Sub-Officer
Warrant Officer 2
Suboficial Primero
Sub-Officer First Class
Chief Petty Officer
Suboficial Segundo
Sub-Officer Second Class
Petty Officer
Cabo Principal
Principal Corporal
Leading Rate
Cabo Primero
Corporal First Class
(No equivalent)
Cabo Segundo
Corporal Second Class
Able Rate
Marinero Primero
Seaman First Class
Ordinary Rate
Marinero Segundo
Seaman Second Class
(No equivalent)

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