The U.S. State Department approved the $78 million possible sale of equipment, parts, support and services for four P-3C Orion surveillance aircraft previously purchased by Argentina’s government from the United States.
Argentina’s government had requested the possible sale to support and maintain its four P-3C aircraft, which it purchased from the U.S. earlier this year.
The request included four turboprop engines for each airframe and four additional engines, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a release on Wednesday, December 20.
The sale approved Wednesday will include communications, radar and optics equipment, as well as aircraft depot maintenance, spare parts and technical and logistical assistance.
Argentina purchased four P-3C aircraft through the Excess Defense Articles program to replace its existing P-3B patrol aircraft. The new aircraft “need this refurbishment and equipment to be fully operational,” the release said.
“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,” it read.
None of Argentina’s P3-B aircraft are operational, according to Jane’s.
The primary contractors are Lockheed Martin Aircraft Center, Logistic Services International, Eagle Systems and Rockwell Collins.
The Lockheed P-3 Orion is a long-range, land-based anti-submarine patrol aircraft, development of which began in the late 1950s. The U.S. Navy is phasing out its use of the Orion in favor of the newer Boeing P-8A Poseidon.