ARA San Juan (S-42)

ARA San Juan (S-42) in 2007
Name:San Juan
Namesake:San Juan Province, Argentina
Builder:Thyssen Nordseewerke, Emden, West Germany
Completed:28 June 1983
Commissioned:19 November 1985
Out of service:15 November 2017
Homeport:Mar del Plata
Identification:Pennant number S-42
Fate:Imploded; Sunk in the Atlantic Ocean[1]
General characteristics
Class and type:TR-1700-class submarine
  • 2,140 tonnes (surfaced)
  • 2,336 tonnes (submerged)
Length:67.30 m (220.8 ft)
Beam:8.36 m (27.4 ft)
Draught:7.34 m (24.1 ft)
  • 1 shaft 4 × MTU diesels
  • 1 × Siemens electric motor
  • 15 knots (28 km/h) surfaced
  • 25 knots (46 km/h) submerged
Range:12,000 nmi (22,000 km) at 8 kn (15 km/h) surfaced
Endurance:30 days
Test depth:300 m (980 ft)
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • 6 × 533 mm (21 in) bow torpedo tubes
  • 22 torpedoes

ARA San Juan (S-42) was a TR-1700-class diesel-electric submarine in service with the Submarine Force of the Argentine Navy from 1986 to 2017. It was built in West Germany and entered service on 19 November 1985, and it underwent a mid-life update from 2008 to 2013.

On 15 November 2017, San Juan went missing during a routine patrol in the South Atlantic off the coast of Argentina, believed to have suffered an electrical malfunction, and a multi-nation search operation was mounted. Within hours of San Juan's last transmission, an acoustic anomaly consistent with an implosion was detected in the vicinity of the vessel's last known location. On 30 November, the search and rescue operation was abandoned.

The Argentine Navy reported on 16 November 2018 that the wreck of San Juan had been found at a depth of 907 metres (2,976 ft), 460 kilometres (290 mi) southeast of Comodoro Rivadavia.[2] The submarine’s imploded wreckage was strewn over an area of 8,000 square metres (86,000 sq ft).[3][4]


Built by Thyssen Nordseewerke,[5][6] San Juan was laid down on 18 March 1982 and launched on 20 June 1983. It had a single-hull design, with a lightweight bow and stern and a watertight superstructure in the central part. Her sister vessel, ARA Santa Cruz, is the only other one of her type, though the program originally sought to produce a larger number of submarines.[7]

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