Argentina has concluded negotiations to purchase four surplus P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft from the Royal Norwegian Air Force, fulfilling a requirement set by the Argentine Navy in 2015.
The agreement, reached on August 31 in Buenos Aires during discussions between Defense Minister Jorge Taiana and representatives from the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency, involves three P-3C aircraft equipped for maritime surveillance, anti-submarine, and anti-surface missions, alongside one P-3N specially designed for search and rescue operations.
Originally, Argentina had sought to acquire surplus P-3Cs from the U.S. Navy. However, the American aircraft required refurbishment beyond Argentina's budget capabilities, according to local military sources who spoke anonymously to Defense News.
The first two P-3 aircraft are expected to arrive in Argentina by early October. They will enhance the capabilities of the Argentine Navy's surveillance squadron based at the Almirante Zar Air Naval Base near Trelew, along the Patagonian coast. The squadron had been operating P-3Bs from the U.S. Navy since 1997, but maintenance issues had limited their effectiveness.
Between 2009 and 2016, Norway invested in life extension and upgrades for its P-3 fleet before replacing them with P-8 Poseidon aircraft. These upgrades included wing and horizontal stabilizer replacements using advanced alloys for improved durability and corrosion resistance, as well as mission systems enhancements.