Argentine Air Force to get two Bell 412EPs
|Monday 20 May 2013||Text by Arturo Max under Defence & security|
According to press releases, documents and rumours circulating the web, the Ministry of Defence purchased two Bell 412EP in February 2013. Ostensibly, they are destined to be operated by the Argentine Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Argentina, or FAA), as anticipated by Air Force Chief of Staff, general brigadier Normando Costantino, at the institution’s centennial speech in August 2012. Acquisition was inked through two consecutive contracts signed by Minister of Defence, Arturo Puricelli, and the Canadian Commercial Corporation, a Canadian government company represented in Buenos Aires by Senior Commercial Comissioner, David Murphy. Both contracts were approved by Presidential Chief of Staff administrative decission 181/2013 on 8 May 2013. Even though data presently available do not specify their future operating unit, our evaluation aims to José C. Paz (Buenos Aires) based VII Air Brigade. Some sources indicate they are likely to be deployed as part of the aviation component of the Chilean/Argentine Peacekeeping Force “Southern Cross” (“Cruz del Sur”).
The first contract is valued at US $ 10,282,454 and envisages delivery of airframe serial number 36621 (new), which is presently registered C-GUKJ to manufacturer Bell Helicopter TEXTRON Canada Ltd. The second one is priced at US $ 7,146,346 and stipulates delivery of airframe construction number 36375 (second hand), which remains registered LV-BDH and purportedly belongs to Eagle Copters Ltd. After reading the two contracts, we assume the first unit to be delivered will be the one presently located in Canada. The helicopter will be used for initial Argentine crew training at Bell Helicopter’s Training Academy in Fort Worth, Texas (USA), where two pilots and three technicians are contractually scheduled to undergo flight, field maintenance, electric maintenance and automatic flight control system training. The aircraft will then be ferried to Quilmes (Buenos Aires), where it must be handed over five months after contract validation. The second unit is already located in Buenos Aires, will be acquired after Air Force evaluation and must also be handed over at Quilmes.
Acknowledgements: Diego Ventura contributed to this report.