Rivadavia Class Destroyers
(Note: drawing contains some parts taken from Shipbucket.com)

Ship Characteristics

Dimensions Length 567.2 ft
Beam 62 ft
Draft 22 ft
Displacement (Standard) 5,750 tons
Displacement (Full Load) 6,398 tons
Performance Speed (max) 36 knots
Speed (cruising) 16 knots
Endurance 4,500 nautical miles at 15 knots
Armament Guns 4 135mm L50
Anti-aircraft Missiles 56 Folgore
ASW 2 triple 14 inch torpedo tubes


The Italian Navy developed the "Roman Empress" Class destroyers in the mid-1960s as a response to the developing threat from The Caliphate and the demonstrable obsolescence of its existing fleet that was still largely a legacy from World War Two. They were primarily anti-aircraft ships and were armed with four single mounts for 135mm L50 guns, this being an automated mount capable of firing a 78 pound shell to a range of 21,000 yards at a rate of 50 rounds per minute. The Italian Navy considered this gun to be the equivalent of the Australo-Indian 4.5 inch Mark 6, offsetting the latter's greater rate of fire with its heavier shell and extra range. The ships were also armed with two single launchers for the Breda Folgore anti-aircraft missile. This was a medium range weapon, reaching out to around 50 miles. The single-rail launcher was capable of a high rate of fire, putting six missiles into the air per minute. Four guidance channels were provided and the ships carried 56 missiles, 28 for each launcher.

The lead ship of the class, the RIN Livia made a round-the-world sales trip when she commissioned in 1969 and came back with a sheaf of orders from a variety of navies. One of the most prominent was the Argentine Navy that ordered six ships of this class, two for construction in Fincantieri's La Spezia shipyard and the other four to be built under license in Argentina's Arsenelo de Marinha shipyard. The first pair were delieverd promptly and on schedule but the other four experienced long delays due to the inept standards of workmanship and incompetent management an Arsenelo de Marinha. For example, electronic components and machinery parts were left in the open and unattended while awaiting installation which, due to the ever-increasing lateness of the ships, could be a period of years. Obviously such parts were corroded and deteriorated beyond use by the time they were due to be installed and then had to be replaced, adding further delays and cost. In sheer frustration, the Argentine Navy ordered two additional ships from Italian shipyardsbringing the total class to eight. The last of the Argentine ships would not be delivered until 1986, 16 years after being ordered.

The four Italian-built ships proved highly successful in service, the Argentine-built ships (when they finally arrived) being rather less so due to their unreliability. The four Italian-built ships served as escorts for the two Argentine aircraft carriers while the others were assigned to screen the assault cruisers.

Class Members

Name Ordered Laid Down Launched Commissioned Fate
Rivadavia 1970 1971 1974 1976 Sunk by Royal Navy air attack, Falklands, April 29, 1982
Moreno 1970 1971 1974 1976
Entre Rios 1970 1972 1978 1980
Mendoza 1970 1973 1979 1981
Tucuman 1970 1974 1980 1985 Still in service 2009
La Rioja 1970 1975 1981 1986 Still in service 2009
Cervantes 1974 1974 1977 1979 Sunk by Royal Navy air attack, Falklands, April 29, 1982
Juan de Garay 1974 1974 1977 1979 Sunk by Royal Navy air attack, Falklands, April 29, 1982
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