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Montevideo, May 18th 2024 - 07:52 UTC



Argentine Air Force Saab 340B makes successful first flight to Marambio Base in Antarctica

Monday, April 15th 2024 - 10:34 UTC
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The Saab 340B is now an alternative to the much larger C-130 Hercules The Saab 340B is now an alternative to the much larger C-130 Hercules

The Argentine Air Force (FAA) has added the Swedish-built Saab 340B twin turboprop to the list of aircraft able to perform logistics missions to Antarctica after a successful first flight last week. The model is ideal for small-size operations that would otherwise require the services of the much larger and four-engined Lockheed C-130 Hercules.

The mission that successfully landed at the Marambio Antarctic base resulted in a milestone for the FAA. It was “a true aeronautical feat,” it was explained at the FAA headquarters in Buenos Aires after “a long planning process.”

“From now on, Argentina will have a new weapon system to ensure our presence in each of the bases where, year after year, scientific and military personnel are deployed,” mission chief Brigadier Diego García was quoted as saying.

For the Saab 340B, landing on Marambio's runway was a first, because instead of tarmac it is made of permafrost (a layer of permanently frozen soil), and is slightly over 1,200 meters long and 40 meters wide. The crew also needed to be trained on ground checkups, refueling, and mitigating the effect of the below 0ºC temperatures on the engines and batteries, in addition to emergency procedures for the evacuation of the aircraft and survival in a hostile maritime environment. However, it was not necessary to adapt the aircraft to operate on the White Continent, because the Saab is designed to operate in extreme cold weather and was already fitted with the additional modifications necessary to operate on unpaved runways.

The mission also required favorable weather and other considerations because there was limited to no room for errors.

For the Marambio staff, it also meant reducing the isolation feeling since more flights are now to be expected.

Categories: Politics, Antarctica, Argentina.

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  • FitzRoy

    You need a “weapons system” to deliver scientists to an otherwise undefended Antarctica?

    Apr 17th, 2024 - 09:27 am 0
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