The Argentine minister of defense Oscar Aguad headed the welcome ceremony for the first four of twelve last generation Beechcraft T-6C Texan II purchased by Argentina for the training of its military pilots, and which on Monday arrived at the Military Aviation School in Cordoba.
The purchase-operation is part of a re-equipment and modernization program of the country's military air fleet implemented by the current government of president Mauricio Macri.
It's a great pleasure to receive and present these aircraft, which is a sacrifice of the nation and all Argentines to equip our pilots with state of the art technology. This aircraft model is also used in the United States to train military pilots of the three branches, while Mexico uses them for training and combating the drugs traffic. This is a huge first step to recover the many years lost in our training capacity for our military, said minister Aguad at the Cordoba pilot training facilities.
The first four aircraft, contracted in April, departed Textron’s facility in the United States for Argentina on 28 September, the Air Force announced. The single engine turboprop trainer and light-attack aircraft has a four hour flight autonomy and leading avionics and is employed by the main world training schools. Some of the armed forces that fly them includes the US, Canada, Germany, Greece, Morocco Israel and Mexico, among others.
This represents a qualitative advance for training pilots, and a substantial technological improvement for the three forces joint military pilots training, underlined the Argentine air force head of the joint command and Malvinas war veteran, Brigadier Mayor Enrique Victor Amrein.
Today we are welcoming the brand new Texan II aircraft, but also pilots and support teams which have accomplished this incredible and enviable flight from Kansas, and landing them impeccably in Cordoba, added the brigadier.
He admitted the process has not been easy, there were some setbacks and some obstacles but convinced and committed to their duty with support from the defense ministry and the Executive, this re-equipment has become a milestone and a dream come true for our professional training.
The four aircraft are part of the 12 units operations plus spares and additional support equipment, which apparently were acquired at a cost of US$ 167 million, according to decree 595 published last August in the Official Gazette.
Argentina lost over 55 aircraft during the Falklands/Malvinas conflict in 1982, and the deterioration continued since there were no major re equipment operations, including training aircraft, following the decommissioning of US manufactured Mentor models. The Texan II can also be flown in border control and anti-narcotics combat.
In August 2016 the US State Department approved the sale of up to 24 T-6C+ aircraft to Argentina, worth an estimated USD300 million. At the time is was reported that the Argentine air force will employ the new aircraft to replace its ageing Embraer EMB-312 Tucanos, only a handful of which remain airworthy.
The ceremony was also attended by the head of the Joint Forces Command, Lieutenant General Bari del Valle Sosa, commander of the Army Lieutenant General Diego Luis Suer and head of the Navy Admiral Marceo Eduardo Hipolito Srur.
Before the welcome ceremony, the Cordoba Aircraft Manufacturing plant, FA de A, signed a commercial agreement with Airbus for the support of the Army and Coast Guard Airbus C212, which will also help re-launch Argentina's air industry, and set the foundations for a long term industrial cooperation.