The Argentine government had formally submitted a request to the United States to procure surplus CH-46 helicopters to replace its two Russian origin Mi-171E choppers.
A confidential source in Buenos Aires told Defense News that while the aim is to acquire surplus CH-46 helicopters to enhance Argentina’s vertical lift capabilities, the urgent priority is to replace two Mil Mi-171Es.
These Mi-171 aircraft, initially procured in a 2010 contract worth $26.5 million and essential for Antarctic operations since 2011, are currently grounded due to the impracticality of having them maintained by their manufacturer, given the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian conflict and related sanctions against Russia.
Attempts to relocate maintenance operations to Peru, Colombia, or Mexico faced obstacles in the form of certification issues, leading Argentina to abandon plans for maintenance in Russia. This situation has increased the pressure to find suitable replacements.
The strategy involves acquiring an initial batch of four CH-46 helicopters, with plans to expand the fleet to at least eight, including exploring the possibility of acquiring civilian-operated helicopters.
However, there are doubts about the current administration's ability to complete this project, especially with a new government election scheduled for October 22nd.