USA approves P-3C Orion anti-submarine aircraft sale to Argentina

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Argentina of equipment, support and services in support of Argentina’s EDA purchase of four P-3C aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $78.032 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on December 19.

USA approves P 3C Orion anti submarine aircraft sale to Argentina A P-3C of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (Picture source: 海上自衛隊)

The P-3C Orion is a four-engine turboprop aircraft originally designed by the U.S. Navy to locate and track enemy submarines. The mission has been modified in recent years to provide on-station surface surveillance for both land and sea missions. The P-3C has advanced submarine detection sensors such as directional frequency and ranging (DIFAR) sonobuoys and magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) equipment. The aircraft can carry a mixed payload of weapons internally and on wing pylons.

The Government of Argentina has requested a possible sale of equipment, support and services in support of Argentina’s EDA purchase of four P-3C aircraft, including four turboprop engines on each airframe and an additional four turboprop engines. The proposed sale will include communications equipment; radar equipment; Infrared /Electro-optic equipment; aircraft depot maintenance; depopulation and repopulation; supply support/spares and repair of repairables; support equipment; publications; training; aviation life support systems; aircraft transportation; logistical and other technical assistance, and other related elements of logistical and program support. The total estimated program cost is $78.032 million.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a partner in South America.

Argentina’s existing P-3B patrol aircraft have reached the end of their operational service life. To maintain maritime security, Argentina acquired four EDA P-3C aircraft to replace its older aircraft. These EDA aircraft need this refurbishment and equipment to be fully operational. It is vital to the U.S. national interest to assist Argentina in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense maritime patrol aircraft capability. Argentina will have no difficulty absorbing these aircraft into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The prime contractors will be Logistic Services International, Jacksonville, FL; Lockheed Martin Aircraft Center, Greenville, SC; Eagle Systems, Jacksonville, FL; and Rockwell Collins, Cedar Rapids, IA. There are no known offset agreements in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require the temporary assignment of approximately 12 U.S. contractor representatives to Argentina to support the program.