Argentine Minster of Defense Oscar Aguad has confirmed the finding of the submarine ARA San Juan at 907 meters depth in the Argentine Sea about 500 kilometers from the coast of Comodoro Rivadavia in the gulf of San Jorge. The wrecked submarine was found by uncrewed underwater vehicles operated by American company Ocean Infinity, which the Argentine government hired for the search.
According to Aguad, Argentine President Mauricio Macri was made aware of the information as soon as it was obtained and will decree a national mourning period with the Argentine flag hung at half-mast in tribute to the 44 crew members of the submarine.
Argentina first lost contact with ARA San Juan in November 2017 while the Type 1700 submarine was conducting a routine patrol. Argentine declared the submarine lost after months of intensive searches. Even after the submarine was declared lost, Buenos Aires continued to search for the wreck. That search is now over.
San Juan was laid down in 1982 and commissioned in 1985. A midlife upgrade (MLU) and refit was completed in February 2014. The MLU included a complete overhaul of the sub’s propulsion and hydraulic systems, the installation of a new engine and batteries, repairs to the torpedo launch tubes, upgrades to the main computer and software, and the installation of a new radar.
The loss of the San Juan reveals the poor state of repair of much of Argentina’s armed forces. After years of financial problems, Buenos Aires of having a difficult time maintaining its equipment.