After the loss of Argentine Navy diesel-electric submarine (S-42) ARA San Juan in November 2017, The Ministry of Defense of Argentina is considering restarting construction of sister vessel ARA Santa Fe and competing it as a nuclear variant, the Argentine Congress was informed on 3 July. ARA San Juan (S-42) was one of two German-built TR-1700-class diesel-electric submarine delivered in the 1980s that formed the core of the Argentine submarine force. The second boat, ARA Santa Cruz (S-41), is currently undergoing an extended refit that is expected to be completed in late 2019/early 2020.
The TR-1700 is a class of diesel-electric patrol submarines built by Thyssen Nordseewerke for the Argentine Navy in the 1980s. These ships are amongst the largest submarines built in Germany since World War II and are among the fastest diesel-electric submarines in the world. Construction on third boat Santa Fe began in the 1980s but was suspended in the early 1990s when it was 70% complete. The TR-1700s to be built in Argentina were considered for an upgrade to a nuclear submarine using INVAP’s CAREM reactor, which began development at that time. The nuclear submarine project never came to fruition, despite later attempts to revive it.
The submarine was designed by Thyssen and its features include high underwater speed, endurance (for a diesel submarine), and survivability. The boat’s four MTU diesel engines, four generators, and Siemens electric motor can propel it at speeds up to 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph). Eight 120-cell batteries are installed on each boat. They have a diving depth of 300 m (980 ft). Normal endurance of these boats is 30 days with an extended range up to 70 days. These boats are equipped to accept a Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV). Armaments include six bow 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes and 22 SST (Special Surface Target) or Mark 37 torpedo. The automatic torpedo reload system can reload the tubes in 50 seconds.