Just recently, the Argentine Army Aviation and Fabrica Argentina de Aviones (FAdeA)’s mechanics have begun to overhaul the AB-206B-1 helicopters received from the Italian Carabinieri a few months ago. The helicopters were out of service for years and became exposed to the open weather once the argentine agreement started to stall and the hangar was vacated. None the less, an agreement was signed and this generated the needed traction for the transfer process to start.
Of these 20 aircraft, one is still in Italy which was used to perform on the job training for this overhaul and the other 19, already in Campo de Mayo Airstrip, are being sent in batches to Cordoba for the works to start. 5 of these will be transferred to the Gendarmeria Nacional Aviation Service and the other 15 will remain in the Army.
Argentine Army Aviation plans to convert at least some of these helicopters into a scout platform. Several proposals have been received in such intention, both from local and foreign companies. The Army Aviation started to develop its doctrine using their current Bell B206B3 as mock scouts but depends on the success in obtaining funds to perform such conversion and bring the much needed scout capabilities. Both local company FixView and Israel Aircraft Industries are very interested in being selected to provide the ISR systems that are being proposed for this task, but guided rockets and machineguns have been preferred as standard equipment.
Still, considering the government’s position on budget cuts and zero fiscal deficit, these proposed works also collide with the urgent need of the Army to replace its 50 year old UH-1Hs. So much to do, and so little to do about it.