An Argentine submarine that disappeared with 44 crew members on board had been on a spying mission to the Falklands, the country's government has admitted.
Argentina's Navy has always claimed the ARA San Juan was carrying out training exercises when it vanished without a trace in November last year.
The sub has never been found but investigators claim a violent explosion was reported near its last known location in the South Atlantic, as it returned to the Mar del Plata naval base.
But now the government's chief of staff has admitted that the vessel had actually been ordered to the Falkland Islands - which the country calls Malvinas - to identify 'ships and aircraft'.
Marcos Penas, answering a question arising from a report into the sub's disappearance, told Argentina's Congress that the San Juan's 'primary tactical objective' was 'the location, identification, photographic/film recording of refrigerated ships, logistic ships, oil tankers, and research vessels using other flags'.
But he added: 'Secondary material coming from this activity was to establish the identity of ships and aircraft operating from the Malvinas.'
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