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TR-1700-class submarine

TR-1700 submarine ARA Santa Cruz (S-41) at Base Naval Mar del Plata.
Class overview
Builders: Thyssen Nordseewerke, Emden, Germany
Operators:  Argentine Navy
In commission: 1984-present
Planned: 6
Completed: 2
Cancelled: 2
Active: 1
Laid up: 2
Lost: 1
General characteristics
Type: Submarine
  • 2116 tonnes (Surfaced)
  • 2264 tonnes (Submerged)
Length: 67.30 m (220 ft 10 in)
Beam: 8.36 m (27 ft 5 in)
Draught: 6.5 m (21 ft 4 in)
  • 1 shaft 4 × MTU diesels
  • 1 × Siemens electric motor
  • 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) surfaced
  • 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph) submerged
Range: 12,000 nmi (22,000 km; 14,000 mi) at 8 kn (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) surfaced
Endurance: 30 days
Test depth: 300 m (980 ft)
Complement: 26
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • radar Thompson CSF Calypso
  • Sonar Atlas Elektronik CSU 3/4, Thompson Sintra DUUX-5

The TR-1700 (Santa Cruz) 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.[1]


The original 1977 plan called for six boats, two TR-1700s built in Germany by Thyssen Nordseewerke, two in Argentina by Astillero Domecq Garcia, and two smaller TR-1400s also built in Argentina.[2] The final agreement in 1982 was modified to six TR-1700s, with the last four to be built in Argentina.[3] 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.[4]


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).[5] 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.[2]

Thyssen proposed the TR1700A for the Australian Collins-class submarine program.[6] The proposed design had a reworked pressure hull, was six meters longer, and half a meter wider than the TR-1700s built for Argentina. It lost to the Type 471 from Kockums, an enlarged Västergötland-class submarine.


The first two submarines were delivered on schedule in 1984-85. The remaining four built in Argentina were suspended due to the Argentinean economic crisis of the 1980s. In 1996 work completely ceased on ARA Santa Fe at 70% (or 5%) completion while ARA Santiago del Estero was only 30% complete.[7] After attempts to complete and sell the boats to Taiwan failed, they were cannibalized, along with the parts for the fifth and sixth units, to support the continued operations of the first two submarines.[1]

Santa Cruz received its mid-life modernization at Arsenal de Marinha, Rio de Janeiro Brazil between September 1999 and 2001.[2] The work involved the replacement of the engines, batteries, and sonar. Her sister boat San Juan entered the Astillero Domecq Garcia shipyard to receive her refit in 2007;[8] she completed refit in 2013.[9]

In September 2010, it was revealed that the Ministry of Defense was conducting feasibility studies to decide if ARA Santa Fe (S-43) should be completed. The decision should be made sometime after completing the mid-life modernization of ARA San Juan (S-42). The estimated cost of completing Santa Fe was $60 million.[10][11]

On 17 November 2017, the ARA San Juan was reported missing; reports of a fire are unsubstantiated and have been denied by the Argentine Navy.[12][13]

Boats in class

Ship Pennant number Builder Completed Status
ARA Santa Cruz S-41 Thyssen Nordseewerke 18 October 1984 In service with Argentine Navy
ARA San Juan S-42 Thyssen Nordseewerke 19 November 1985 Formerly in service with Argentine Navy.
Confirmed lost on 23 November 2017.
ARA Santa Fe S-43 Astillero Domecq Garcia Construction suspended - 70% (or 52%) complete[14]
Boat could be completed after feasibility studies
ARA Santiago Del Estero S-44 Astillero Domecq Garcia Construction suspended - 30% complete
(none) S-45 Astillero Domecq Garcia Construction suspended - Little complete[7]
Components cannibalized for spares
(none) S-46 Astillero Domecq Garcia Suspended
Components cannibalized for spares[7]


See also



  1. ^ a b Miller, David (2002). The Illustrated Directory of Submarines. Zenith Press. p. 480. ISBN 0-7603-1345-8. 
  2. ^ a b c Santa Cruz class Patrol submarine
  3. ^ Farley, Robert (20 November 2017). "Everything You Need to Know about Argentina's Submarine Force". The National Interest. Retrieved 23 November 2017. 
  4. ^ Promete Garré que se construirá un submarino nuclear en el país
  5. ^ Watts, Anthony (March 2002). Jane's Underwater Warfare Systems, 2002-2003. Jane's Information Group. p. 629. ISBN 0-7106-2451-4. 
  6. ^ Woolner, Derek (18 September 2001). Procuring Change: How Kockums was Selected for the Collins Class Submarine. Canberra: Department of the Parliamentary Library. p. 34. 
  7. ^ a b c Wertheim, Eric (2002). Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World: Their Ships, Aircraft, and Systems. US Naval Institute Press. p. 1124. ISBN 1-59114-955-X. 
  8. ^ The hull of the S-42 ARA San Juan again soldier
  9. ^ El arte de reparar submarinos - Pagina 12, 3 August 2014 (2016-05-01)
  10. ^ Por primera vez en la historia se construirán en nuestro país submarinos para la Armada Archived 2011-07-23 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ <"Argentina estudia construir submarino nuclear en astilleros propios" - FuerzasAeronavales website - article by Sergio Garcia Pedroche, 28/09/2010 Archived 2016-08-16 at the Wayback Machine. (accessed 2016-07-16)
  12. ^ Goñi, Uki (2017-11-17). "Argentina's navy searches for missing submarine with 44 crew on board". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-11-17. 
  13. ^ La Armada Argentina asegura que, a pesar de la explosión, continuará buscando el submarino San Juan - "" (in Spanish) (accessed 2017-11-23)
  14. ^ Congreso Nacional: del submarino ARA Santa Fe, el cual se encuentra al 70% de su construcción[permanent dead link]


  • Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1947-1995

Further reading

External links