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Argentina to build nuke subs with conventional weapons


The ARA Santa Fe submarine of Argentina. A Wikipedia photo

BUENOS AIRES (BNS): Argentina is planning to upgrade its conventional diesel-electric submarines into nuclear-powered ones and equip them with conventional weapons, the country’s Defence Minister has said.

“President Cristina Kirchner has requested us to come up with a nuclear propulsion development project for our submarines” Defence Minister Arturo Puricelli said during a recent conference.

While stating that Argentina has “the capacity to develop nuclear propulsion for submarines,” the minister said when the ‘ARA Santa Fe’ submarine, “which has been waiting for some years” leaves the shipyard, it will not do it with its original propulsion but with indigenously developed nuclear propulsion.

The minister also revealed that another Argentine submarine, ARA San Juan, is already half refurbished.

The South American country launched the “submarine with nuclear propulsion and conventional weapons” project a year ago and began building a nuclear reactor to install on the submarines, the Latin American news agency MercoPress reported.

Argentina’s decision comes at a time when another Latin American country Brazil has started construction of its four Scorpene-class conventional submarines with French assistance.

In 2008, Brazil had inked a deal worth 6.7 billion Euros with France to acquire four Scorpene attack submarines and technical assistance to build its own nuclear-powered submarine.

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