The Chief of General Staff of the Argentinian Navy, Admiral Julio Guardia, reported that the navy is in negotiations with the Norwegian government for the possible purchase of three or four Lockheed P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft. The Norwegian Orions are slated for retirement soon as the type is in the process of replacement by the Boeing P-8A Poseidon.
The deal, if reached, would contain two P-3Cs and one of the P-3N (upgraded P-3B) variant, although there is a possibility that this number will be expanded and include another P-3C. The Royal Norwegian Air Force has just decommissioned the last of its two P-3Ns.
The P-3Cs are registered 3297 (c/n 5818), 3298 (c/n 5819) and 3299 (c/n 5820). The P-3N is the 4576 (c/n 5257), one of two of its kind in use by the Royal Norwegian Air Force for coast guard duties rather than anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare. Negotiations about a possible purchase are continuing to reach a final agreement with Norway.
The Argentinian navy has reportedly been looking to improve the serviceability of its current P-3B Orion-fleet for many years, but to little avail. The aircraft are nominally based at Base Aeronaval Almirante Zar in Trelew, and operated by 6 Escuadra Aeronaval (EA6), although very few, if any, are currently in operational status.
Credits: Pucara Defensa
Photo: P-3N 4576 by Manolito Jaarsma