The modern Argentine Navy fields an active submarine force numbering just three boats. These include ARA Santa Cruz (S-41) and ARA San Juan (S-42) of the Santa Cruz-class and ARA Salta (S-31) of the Salta-class. The force was commissioned in 1972 with the arrival of Salta and joined in 1985 by Santa Cruz and, in 1987, by San Juan. All three maintain an active presence in the Argentine Fleet.
The Santa Cruz-class is based on the standard "TR-1700" diesel-electric submarine design offered by Thyssen Nordseewerke of Germany that originated in the 1980s. They are conventional vessels through-and-through with basic functionality and performance as Cold War-era diesel-electric boats go. Power involves 4 x MTU diesel units for surface travel and 1 x Siemens electric motor for submerged work. Speeds reach 15 knots on the surface and 25 knots submerged. Range is 12,000 nautical miles when traveling on the surface while the mission endurance window numbers thirty days.
Onboard is a crew of twenty six. The radar fit is a Thompson CSF "Calpso" unit and sonar is handled through an Atlas Elektronik CSU alongside a Thompson "Sintra" DUUX-5. Armament consists of 6 x 533mm (21") bow-mounted torpedo tubes and 22 reloads are carried.
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