Argentina is gearing up to bolster its maritime and aerial capabilities with acquisitions and upgrades.
During his official visit to Italy, Minister of Defense Jorge Taiana made strides in enhancing the country’s military capabilities, signing an agreement for advanced helicopters and overseeing the delivery of transport aircraft for the Argentine Air Force.
Argentina’s Minister Taiana inked a letter of intent to acquire eight AW 109 helicopters at the Leonardo aerospace factory in Italy. These helicopters will play a role in strengthening the Argentine Navy’s surveillance and control efforts in the South Atlantic, particularly within the Exclusive Economic Zone.
The AW109 multipurpose helicopters are versatile and capable of fulfilling various roles, including surveillance, emergency medical services, and search and rescue missions. These helicopters are equipped with side winches for air evacuations, accommodating one pilot, one co-pilot, and six crew members. With a range of approximately 574km, they can operate for up to three hours.
Argentina has also signed a letter of intention to foster cooperation and acquire light and medium utility helicopters from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). In other Argentinian helicopter developments from this year, the acquisition of six Bell 407GXi helicopters was made in June to help perform critical search and rescue missions efficiently and effectively.
This acquisition is expected to expand Argentina’s control and surveillance capabilities in maritime spaces under national jurisdiction, particularly when incorporated into ocean patrol vessels.
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Cooperation between Argentina and Italy in defence matters has a long history, dating back to 1992 when the Defense Cooperation Agreement was signed in Rome. This partnership focuses on cooperation in the production sector and acquiring defence equipment capabilities.
In a parallel development, Minister Taiana led the delivery of the B-200 “Hurón” aircraft in the Río Cuarto Material Area in the province of Córdoba. This addition is part of a broader initiative to restore the transport aircraft capabilities of the Argentine Armed Forces. The “Hurón” is the fifth to join the Argentine Air Force, with more planned for the future.
The B-200 “Hurón” aircraft is a training platform for new aviators and supports passenger and cargo transportation as the State requires. It has 850 horsepower engines, a maximum fuel capacity of 3,690 pounds, and a top operating speed of 245 knots. The aircraft can carry up to eight passengers.
During his visit to the Río Cuarto Material Area, Minister Taiana inspected various units and projects within the Air Force. These included the modernisation of weapons systems, inspections of aircraft, and the development of aeronautical components. The area’s maintenance shops ensure the Air Force’s capabilities remain at their peak.
As Argentina continues to invest in its defence capabilities, these acquisitions and upgrades are poised to strengthen its position in the South Atlantic and beyond, safeguarding its territorial integrity and enhancing its ability to respond to various challenges effectively.