Puerto Belgrano Naval Base (Spanish: Base Naval Puerto Belgrano - BNPB) is the largest naval base of the Argentine Navy, situated next to Punta Alta, near Bahía Blanca, about 560 km (348 mi) south of Buenos Aires. It is named after the brigantine General Belgrano (named after Manuel Belgrano) which sounded the area in late 1824.
Home of the Argentine Seas Fleet ((in Spanish) Flota de Mar), it concentrates the major ships and arsenals; and is close to the main bases of other Argentine Navy organisations: Marine's camp Baterías and Naval aviation's air base Comandante Espora (Spanish: Base Aeronaval Comandante Espora - BACE) .
Designed by Italian engineer Luis Luiggi, Puerto Belgrano opened on November 30, 1896 under the name Puerto Militar (English: Military Port). In 1911, the French-owned railway company Ferrocarril Rosario y Puerto Belgrano opened a broad gauge (5 feet 7 inches (1.70 m)) line between Puerto Belgrano and Rosario. The harbor was renamed Puerto Belgrano in 1923.
The base grew in importance with the size of the fleet. During World War I and World War II the Rivadavia-class battleships ARA Moreno and ARA Rivadavia were docked here, and during the Cold War the aircraft carriers ARA Independencia and ARA Veinticinco de Mayo were docked at this base.
The shipyard continues doing maintenance and refits of vessels and submarines.
On April 2006, the Royal Navy's Antarctic patrol vessel HMS Endurance entered Puerto Belgrano for repairs after damaging its rudder while in Antarctica in February. It was the first time since the end of the 1982 Falklands War (Spanish: Guerra de las Malvinas) that a British Royal Navy ship had entered the Argentine naval base.
Space launch pad
A launch pad is[when?] under construction for the future Argentine space launch vehicle "Tronador II". Land for the construction of the facilities were ceded to CONAE (Argentine Space Agency). The location was selected because of existing Navy facilities, security measures already in place, large enough available area, and a favorable location for launches into polar orbits.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-08-19. Retrieved 2014-08-19.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- (in Spanish) Puerto Belgrano history at Histarmar
- HMS Endurance completes repairs in Puerto Belgrano
- (in Spanish) Official Site