Technical personnel at Argentine state-owned aircraft plant FAdeA have begun work to modernize 19 AB 206 B1 helicopters of the Argentine Army. The helicopters were delivered to Argentina secondhand from Italy in January 2018.
The deal was signed in May 2016. Negotiations for the 20 used helicopters actually started in 2012, but have been repeatedly delayed because Argentina had difficulty coming up with the required funding. Although Argentina’s finances have since deteriorated, they had improved enough so that Buenos Aires could finally fund the project, and take delivery of the aircraft. The deal also included training, 10 GAU-17 machine guns and five beds for use on the helicopters.
In the first phase of the project, nine aircraft will be inspected and will undergo repairs to the airframe, engine, and interior. They will also be repainted.
The announcement is significant because the FAdeA factory in Córdoba had been inactive for 10 years. However, the government has begun a project to reactive the plant provide enough work so that it can sustainably remain operational. In order to accomplish that, Argentina plans to generate commercial work as well as work maintaining military aircraft.
To that end, FAdeA has signed a contract with Arab Emirates Etihad Engineering to provide maintenance for the airline’s Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft. The deal will last five years.