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Everything You Need to Know about Argentina's Submarine Force

As soon as the ARA San Juan is found, hopefully with the crew safe, serious efforts will begin to determine the cause of the incident and remedy any systematic problems with similar boats. Germany is a major exporter of submarines, having enjoyed huge success with its Type 209 and Type 214 boats. These boats have a reputation for reliability, having operated for many years with many different navies. The ARA San Juan is the first German-built submarine of the post-war era to experience a catastrophic mishap.

There is no question that it is difficult and dangerous to operate a submarine arm without sufficient investment in training and maintenance. The Argentine Navy has historically been active, but repeated financial and economic crises may have had a serious impact on readiness. The margin of safety for a submarine is less than that for a surface ship, which is perhaps why so many submarines around the world spend so much time tied up alongside a pier.

Robert Farley, a frequent contributor to TNI, is author of The Battleship Book. He serves as a Senior Lecturer at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky. His work includes military doctrine, national security, and maritime affairs. He blogs at Lawyers, Guns and Money, Information Dissemination and The Diplomat.

Image: Reuters