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Argentina shops for new helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft

14th July 2023 - 16:30 GMT | by Wilder Alejandro Sanchez in Washington DC

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Argentina now has four operational Lama helicopters, with its recently ordered Bell 407s in the frame as a potential replacement. (Photo: Fuerza Aerea Argentina)

While Argentina’s combat aviation fleet remains weak, the armed forces are acquiring new search and rescue (SAR) helicopters and a fixed-wing surveillance aircraft with SAR capabilities.

Between June and July, the Argentine government announced the acquisition of one Diamond DA-62 MPP surveillance aircraft and Bell 407GXi helicopters for search-and-rescue missions, and launched a potential future acquisition of Airbus H215s.

On 7 July, the MoD issued an administrative decision authorising the purchase of the single DA-62 MPP for $8.676 million for the Argentine Army. The aircraft has a speed of 126kt and a range of up to 2,341km, according to the manufacturer; the type is suitable for search and rescue missions, as well as coastline and border patrol.

During Paris Air Show 2023, Minister of Defence Jorge Taiana signed an agreement with France's Minister of the Armed Forces, Sébastien Lecornu for the potential purchase of 12 Airbus H215 helicopters for the Argentine armed forces, it was announced on 3 July. 

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Buenos Aires has not disclosed when the platforms will arrive or what operations they will be utilised for.

Besides Airbus, the MoD is looking for other suppliers of helicopters. Shephard reported on 6 June that Bell had announced a purchase agreement with Argentina for six Model 407GXi aircraft for SAR missions.

On 7 July, the Argentine Air Force also announced that two Aérospatiale SA315B Lama helicopters were repaired and returned to service. The service’s SAR and special missions squadron, assigned to Fighter Group 4, now has four operational Lama helicopters. The funds for repairing the aircraft came from the National Defence Fund.

Buenos Aires has not disclosed if the Bell 407s will replace the Lama fleet.

Wilder Alejandro Sanchez

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Wilder Alejandro Sanchez


Wilder Alejandro Sánchez is an analyst who covers defense & security, geopolitical, and trade issues …

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