La Fayette frigates for the Argentine Navy?

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Since the reported issues on to maintain and operate their current MEKO 360H2 frigates, it was come to the knowledge of the Argentine Navy that the logistics of the Rolls Royce Olympus and Tyne marine turbines is set to be discontinued within 24 months. This has come to affect current frigates of Argentina, Brazil and Chile navies. Such Almirante Brown class frigates have never had any comprehensive upgrades and both an engine replacement and these systems replacements can come both too expensive and too late.

Recent publications have disclosed the fact that the French Marine Nationale has chosen to withhold two La Fayette class frigates, out of five, from being upgraded considering that expects a new class of frigates to replace this class. A quarter of century ago, these frigates were among the first to present a “stealth” design. Although with use of diesel and diesel (CODAD) propulsion type and a lower maximum speed in comparison to the Almirante Brown frigates these may prove, if the pricetag is right, a worthy replacement.

A proposal might be to take both Sourcouf and Guepratt frigates and to apply them a major conversion and upgrade similar to the standard of the Formidable class frigates of the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN). The “Formidable” are a variant of the La Fayette class with improved capabilities in Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Anti-Air Warfare (AAW).

In the long term, even considering the good terms of the Argentine and French governments, this could also be extended to finally onboard the entire La Fayette class in replacement of the MEKO 360H2’s with three conventional frigates and two specialized in area defense, a role lost in the Argentine Navy after the United Kingdom implemented its arms embargo after the South Atlantic conflict of 1982 to the Type 42 frigates, ARA Hercules and ARA Santisima Trinidad.

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