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ARA Hercules (D1) / (B52)

Destroyer Warship / Amphibious Assault Vessel

Built in Britain prior to the 1982 Falklands War, ARA Hercules still maintains an active presence in the Argentine fleet today - now in a support role.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Edited: 6/27/2018
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Year: 1976
Status: Commissioned, in Active Service
Ships-in-Class: 2
Named Ships: ARA Hercules (D1); ARA Santisima Trinidad (D2)
Roles: Amphibious Operations Support; Blue Water Operations; Fleet Support; Hunter; Direct-Attack;
Complement: 270
Length: 410 ft (124.97 m)
Width: 48 ft (14.63 m)
Height: 17 ft (5.18 m)
Displacement (Surface): 4,170 tons
Propulsion: 2 x TM-3B gas turbines developing 54,400 horsepower with 2 x RM-1A gas turbines developing 8,200 horsepower driving 2 x shafts in COGAG arrangement.
Speed (Surface): 28 kts (32 mph)
Range: 4,171 nm (4,800 miles; 7,725 km)
Operators: Argentina
Prior to the Falklands War (1982) against Britain, Argentina maintained a relationship with the European power to the point that it was able to procure a pair of its "Type 42" destroyer warships. These were christened as ARA hercules (D1) and ARA Santisima Trinidad (D2). Both were ordered on May 18th, 1970 and acquired on June 16th, 1971 and October 11th, 1971, respectively. ARA Hercules (constructed by Vickers Shipbuilding Ltd of Barrow-in-Furness) was launched on October 24th, 1972 and taken into service on May 10th, 1976. Her formal commissioning took place on July 12th, 1976. Santisima followed on July 1st, 1981. Hercules was assigned to Puerto Belgrano Naval Base.

ARA Hercules was completed to the original Type 42 standard which made up most of the British Royal Navy's Type 42 fleet (a few were completed with lengthened hulls). After some time in service, her offensive capabilities were augmented by installation of the French-made MM-38 "Exocet" anti-ship missiles which forced a revision of some of her structure near the smoke funnel. She retained her 4.5" turreted deck gun, a twin-launcher Sea Dart unit, 2 x 20mm Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns as well as 6 x 12.75" (324mm) torpedo tubes. She also held onboard facilities for a single Westland Lynx (or similar) navy helicopter. Power was from a COmbined Gas And Gas (COGAG) arrangement involving 2 x TM-3B and 2 x RM-1A gas turbines driving 2 x shafts. She could hope to make headway at 28 knots in ideal conditions. Her crew complement numbered 280.

For the 1982 conflict with Britain, ARA Hercules joined ARA Santisima Trinidad as escorts to the ARA Veinticinco de Mayo aircraft carrier (detailed elsewhere on this site) but she faced mechanical issues which limited her participation. Very little action beyond tracking and fending off a British Sea Harrier was seen and Argentina went on to lose the war and control of the Falkland Islands for good.

In the post-war period, in 2000 specifically, ARA Hercules was taken to neighboring Chile where a expansive program was done on her to convert the warship to more of a multi-purpose-minded transport vessel. This included an enlarging of her hangar space and stern flight deck and removal of some of her original armament. The warship carried provision and space for 238 combat-ready troops as well as a crew of 166 and could now operate 2 x Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King (or similar) navy helicopters (these further equipped with anti-ship missiles for over-the-horizon work).

As of 2016, ARA Hercules - now given the Pennant Number "B-52" - maintains an active status in the Argentine fleet. She was assigned to the amphibious force section in 1999. Her sister was given up in 1989.


As Built:
1 x 4.5" (114mm) Dual-Purpose (DP) Deck Gun
1 x Sea Dart Anti-Aircraft Missile (AAM) twin launcher
2 x 20mm AA cannons
6 x 12.75" (324mm) torpedo tubes

Pre-1982 Modification:
4 x MM38 Exocet Anti-Ship Missiles (ASMs) added

Post-2000 Conversion to assault transport:
1 x 4.5" DP gun
2 x 20mm AA guns
6 x 12.75" torpedo tubes

Air Wing

As Built:
1 x Westland Lynx navy helicopter (ASW)

After 2000 Conversion:
2 x Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King navy helicopters (ASW)
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