ARA Drummond P-31 was named after Sergeant Major Francisco Drumond, an Argentinian sailor who died during the Monte Santiago naval battle against the Brazilian Imperial Navy on April 8, 1827.

The Corvette, a warship ranking below a frigate in size, has been a significant component of naval forces across the world for over countless decades. The dimensions of corvette are slightly smaller as compared to the traditional frigate combat vessel. However in its slightness lies the most important feature of the Corvette, serving as a preparatory vessel in crucial wartimes, especially as a stop-gap between the larger naval combat vessels. For the Argentine Navy, the corvettes proved their worth during the 1982 Falklands War. The ARA Drummond and ARA Granville were deployed between the Falklands and South Georgia, which would have allowed them to intercept Endurance and remove any Argentine personnel on board.

ARA Drummond P-31 Overview

Drummond was built in 1977 in France for the South African Navy to be named SAS Good Hope but was embargoed at the last minute by United Nations Security Council Resolution 418 over apartheid. The vessel was sold to Argentina instead and delivered on November 9, 1978.
Her specific tasks in naval operations are: defense against surface ships through naval attacks with missiles or cannon; anti-submarine defense with torpedo launch or guided anti-submarine missile; self-defense actions against air raiders and fire support to land units. She is currently based at Mar del Plata and conducts fishery patrol duties in the Argentine exclusive economic zone, where she has captured several trawlers in recent years.

Despite its compact design, Drummond is strongly armed for the time of its design, she turned out to be a very economic ship for extensive patrols. The vessel’s armament, was centered on four MM38 Exocet anti-ship missiles with a range of 42km. Firepower supported by one 100mm Mod 1968 dual purpose gun installed over the forecastle, this is a French naval gun capable of a high rate of fire. Anti-aircraft protection was modest through one 40mm Bofors autocannon in a twin-gunned mounting, two 20mm Oerlikon autocannons in single-gunned mountings and two 12.7mm Colt M2 Heavy Machine Guns in single-gunned mountings. For anti-submarine warfare, two 324mm ILAS-3 triple torpedo tubes were brought along.

The lead ship of the Drummond class of the Argentine Navy
The lead ship of the Drummond class of the Argentine Navy

Throughout her career, along with her sister ships, Drummond served in the 1982 Falklands War. On October 7, 1983, during a live fire exercise off Mar del Plata, she sunk the old destroyer Almirante Domecq Garcia with a MM38 Exocet missile.
In 1994, from her temporary base at Roosevelt Roads Naval Station, she participated on the blockade of Haiti during Operation Uphold Democracy. She had also served as support ship of the Buenos Aires-Rio de Janeiro tall ships races.

The ship was heavily armed
The ship was heavily armed

According to reports, Drummond and her sisters currently “hardly sail because of lack of resources for operational expenses”. The services has also found it hard to maintain its naval training programs, this is worsening the status of the Argentine Navy.

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