Argentina Opts For USA-built Chinook Helicopters

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The country of Argentina has accelerated their progress towards acquiring four new CH-47 Chinook heavy-life helicopters, made by Boeing, in the United States.  According to US military sources in Buenos Aires, the aim of this plan is to fulfill an operational requirement originally issued in 2011.  The initiative was supposed to issue new helicopters to both the Army and the Air Force, for a variety of reasons: civil support, disaster relief, special forces support, and tactical transport.

According to the anonymous military sources—for security reasons, of course—the US government had previously considered the Russian-built Mil Mil-26.  Eventually, though, they chose not to buy them, mostly because of their size and maneuvering limitations.

This would not be the first time the Argentine Air Force will have operated the CH-47 Chinook helicopter.  Between 1980 and the year 2000, their Air Force operated at least three of them. In addition, the Argentine Army received a pair of their own CH-47 helicopters, also in 1980, but they deployed both of them to the Falkland Islands in 1982.  Unfortunately, one of these was destroyed and the other was captured by British forces.

Effectively, this aircraft acquisition plan is only a small part of a larger government action to restore Argentina’s defense capabilities, which takes advantage of a special fund that was created in 2020.  This fund is colloquially known as FONDEF, an acronym that translates in English to the National Fund for Defense.  It provides roughly $400 million for military equipment every year.

On June 9, Argentine Defense Minister Jorge Taiana spoke in front of the Argentina Senate. In this discussion, he highlighted how important FONDEF is regarding the fortification of the country’s military.

Specifically, Taiana pointed out that FONDEF has a short and medium plan for these investments.  Effectively, though, the money will be spent on things like new fighter jets, cyber defense technology, rockets, submarines, missiles, radars and drones, and other similar components.

Acquiring their first fleet of new fighter jets is among the highest priorities for the Argentine Air Force.  They have also considered the FC-1/JF-17 Thunder, which is a project under joint development with Chengdu Aerospace Corp, in China, as well as the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex.