Argentina buys P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft from Norway

Argentina buys P3 Orion Norway
Royal Norwegian Air Force P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft.

Argentina has finalized an agreement to purchase four surplus P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft from the Royal Norwegian Air Force, fulfilling a requirement submitted by the Argentine Navy in 2015.

The agreement was signed on August 31 in Buenos Aires during talks between Defense Minister Jorge Taiana and representatives of the Norwegian Defense Materials Agency. The agreement includes three P-3C aircraft equipped for maritime surveillance, anti-submarine and anti-surface missions, along with a P-3N specially designed for search and rescue operations.

Argentina had previously sought to acquire surplus P-3Cs from the US Navy, but the American aircraft appear to have needed refurbishment beyond Argentina's budget capabilities.

The first two P-3 aircraft are expected to arrive in Argentina in early October. They will enhance the capabilities of the Argentine Navy's surveillance squadron based at the Almirante Zar naval air base near Trelew, along the Patagonian coast. The squadron had operated ex-US Navy P-3Bs since 1997, but maintenance problems had limited their effectiveness.

Norway's P-3C Orion fleet underwent life extension upgrades between 2009 and 2016. The work included replacement of the wings and horizontal stabilizer using advanced alloys for increased durability and corrosion resistance, as well as improvements of mission systems. Norway retired the P-3C fleet on 30 June 2023 following the completion of deliveries of the 5 Boeing P-8A Poseidons purchased in 2017.

Wrutten by Matteo Sanzani

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