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Argentina buys four P-3 Orions from Norway

Royal Norwegian Air Force P-3 Orion. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The Argentine Ministry of Defense and the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency (NDMA) signed a contract for the purchase of three Lockheed P-3C Orions and one P-3N Orion for the Argentine Navy on 17 October. The contract is worth nearly USD60 million, to be paid over the next three years.

The contract was signed by Argentine Minister of Defense Jorge Taiana, Chief of the General Staff of the Argentine Navy Admiral Julio Guardia, and NDMA Director Magnus Hansvold. The signing took place at the Presidente Sarmiento Frigate Museum Ship in Buenos Aires, attended by Norwegian Ambassador to Argentina Halvor Sætre and Commander of Argentine Naval Aviation Commodore Juan Alberto Mercatelli.

The purchase follows the 11 October US government authorisation to transfer the aircraft, as well as 24 Danish F-16 Fighting Falcons, which have not yet been signed for.

Adm Guardia told Janes that a crew is currently in the United States training on the P-3, the first of which is expected to arrive before the end of 2023, with the other three in the course of 2024. Adm Guardia noted that the service is expected to retain its lone P-3B, which entered Fábrica Argentina de Aviones (FAdeA) for overhaul and is expected to be returned to flight in March 2024. This aircraft is to be used mainly for training while the four new P-3s will fly operational missions, all operated by the Naval Air Exploration Squadron at the Almirante Zar Naval Air Base in Trelew.

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