At present, Argentina has two half-finished submarines stored in a warehouse waiting for a budget and a political decision that does not arrive. It was in the 70s when Argentina embarked on an ambitious naval retrofitting project that consisted of owning up to eight submarines.
Thus, in conjunction with Germany, Argentina closed cooperation negotiations on assembly for six submarines, of which two would come armed from Germany while the rest would be completely built in the country. The four submarines were delivered by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft of Germany (HDW) to the Domeq Garcìa shipyard – the only shipyard for submarines of the time throughout Latin America – in 1984 and 1985.
Sadly the project was canceled in the 90s, under the presidency of Carlos Saul Menem, causing the closure of the facilities and the total detention of the construction of the four submarines. However, two of the submarines were in a high degree of progress, the ARA Santa Fe (S-43) and the ARA Santiago del Estero (S-44).
The work would be carried out in collaboration between the Ministry of Defense, responsible for the reconstruction of the ship, and the CNEA (National Atomic Energy Commission), responsible for adapting a medium-sized CAREM reactor to the submarine.
On the other hand, there is also the Santiago del Estero ARA (S-44), which is estimated to have a degree of progress of 35% and that would also be in attempts to rebuild. The Argentine Navy currently has the ARA San Juan, the ARA Santa Cruz and the ARA Salta in service.
The skeletons of the two undeveloped submarines do not cease to be a wake-up call to the entire Argentine political arc, which maintains its disinterest and ignores the real benefits of having its naval industry active. Both submarines would project not only benefits in terms of jobs, but to enhance technological capabilities in a global market that envies this type of expertise.
Anyway, both Santa Fe and Santiago del Estero expect, unfinished, a support that seems not to appear.