Our Bureau
02:24 PM, February 3, 2015
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Argentinian President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner

Argentina is expected to buy the Chinese Norinco VN1 wheeled armoured personnel carrier (APC) and sign a deal to co-produce the P18 export corvette during a February 3-5 visit of Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to Beijing.

According to various media reports, an agreement to be signed in Beijing could include co-production in Argentina of the Norinco VN1 wheeled armoured personnel carrier (APC) and co-operation in building a new ice-breaker, naval tugboats, mobile hospitals, and new warships for the Argentine Navy.

The China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation's (CSIC) P18 export corvette is considered to be a highly capable and modern warship and also cheaper than comparable vessels from France, Germany and Brazil. It is expected to cost about US$45 million each, media reports in Argentina said.

China and Argentina had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in October 2014 on co-operation in defence technology and industry. The joint development programmes were reported as finalised during a Chinese defence trade delegation’s visit to Buenos Aires in late January.

Argentina could buy two warships and co-produce three more in Argentina. The P18 corvette is 1,800 tonnes, is 95 m long, and is powered by two MTU 20V 4000M diesel engines. Argentina wants the corvettes to be able to land its Sea King helicopters and towed sonar.

The Argentine Army evaluated the Norinco VN1 8x8 amphibious APC since last year and could acquire up to 110 VN1s.

Meanwhile, On the first day of her official trip to China, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner told local businessmen today that Argentina was in an “integral strategic alliance” with Beijing.

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