The Argentine Navy have announced that it has concluded an agreement with the United States to acquire four surplus Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft.

The refurbished P-3Cs will replace the Argentine Navy’s inoperable fleet of P-3Bs that it acquired in the late 1990s.

According to local press reports, the terms of the deal stipulate that the four P-3Cs allotted for transfer to Argentina to not have been out of U.S active service for a period greater than two years prior to their delivery.

In addition, the contract includes provisions for an accompanying supply of spares and other technical equipment.

The Lockheed P-3 Orion is a four-engine turboprop anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft developed for the United States Navy and introduced in the 1960s.

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Cue Falkland comments in 3. 2. 1.

Harry Bulpit

Argentina seems to be potting some proper effort in to modernising its military. Soon they be getting both the KA50 fighter and a corvette from South Korea.

Harry Bulpit

*FA 50


Regarding the Falklands – at circa 1000 nm from the mainland Argentinian coast the P-3C has a combat radius of circa 1300nm… this will give only a few hours on station max and with only 4 air frames and their track record of very poor maintenance I can’t see one on – one off ever happening.

Combined with no credible fighter escorts – it’s a moot point entirely. Typhoons based down there with meteor are enough to keep these at arms length.

Falklands are more than adequately protected at present.

Daniele Mandelli

You made the point re just 4 aircraft that I was about to.
Nothing more to add.

Rob N

As I understand it the Rapier SAMs in the Islands will soon be replaced by Sky Sabre (land variant of Sea Ceptor). That should give an additional layer of protection.


Why doesn’t the RAF get some old haggered ex US Navy anti submarine planes to Boulder our fleet!

Daniele Mandelli

Because we are better than that and operate first rate kit, mostly.


What? The latest version of the P-3C is a highly capable aircraft. Second only to the new P-8A. It continues to serve in the USN and many other nations. It would certainly be better than Britain’s ZERO ASW aircraft it currently has. lol

Daniele Mandelli

As in I meant the UK buys what is often termed “gold plated” top of the range, as the P8 and the Japanese aircraft ( i forget the name ? ) are.

I could not see the UK buying an aircraft the US will supplementing and then eventually retiring when we can buy the best available.


I suspects its more political than that. The original decision around the scrapping of the capability was originally that it was no longer required (ok plus costs had gone nuts around nimrod but the decision not to buy else where at that point was around requirement). Once that decision had been set (to justify the cut) they were kinda stuck for a number of years and only the resurgence of Russian activity has meant that they have been able to come up with a reason why the situation has changed (and money had improved). However by the time that justification… Read more »


An interesting take on the issue Steve!


It’s just how the world goes around. It’s human nature to not want to admit, you made a mistake and so people tend to just keep going down the same path rather than admitting they messed up, and politicians / politically motivated civil servants have a career in making sure nothing ever sticks on them, which means never admitting they made a mistake. In the case of the 2013 defense review, rather than admitting it had nothing to do with the threats posed and everything to do with lack of funds (which would mean that the government would have to… Read more »


They have a lot of coastline with challenging seas and weather. The experience of having to search for a lost submarine may have reminded them why maritime search is something they need. I’d imagine these aircraft would be kept busy with routine patrol, SAR work etc a lot of the time. Seems like an appropriate purchase for them all in all I think.


They’re good aircraft but a ride in one is a kidney jolting experience since they operate at such low levels in their ASW role… The Poseidon must be a luxury ride for former P3 crews.


Nick C

I was in Argentina a year ago, and we flew into Rawson airport, which is the P3 base for the Argentine Air Force. The military are one side of the runway and the civilian terminal on the other. I could clearly see six P3’s, of which five were obviously cannibalised and only one had all four engines and looked as if it could be operational. Whether they will have the money to keep four newer aircraft running once they get them is another matter, they have horrendous budget problems and look as if they are going to get the very… Read more »


Generally starting a war usually does not work out well. See Argentia as a case in point. It would take Argentina a high leap to get over the bar if they expect to win a war over the Falklands, never mind start one.

Of course if Corbyn or Swinson were in charge it would be different.


Why would that be exactly? Are you saying that the Labour Party or Lib Dem’s have a policy of disarmament…it’s not something I’ve seen published ?


“Generally starting a war usually does not work out well. See Argentia as a case in point. It would take Argentina a high leap to get over the bar if they expect to win a war over the Falklands, never mind start one“

What does that even mean?


Do you think Argentina are remotely able to organise a military expedition against the Falklands? To be capable of that they need to invest a huge effort. As I said, you should be serious about starting a war if you intend to finish it.

andy reeves

surprising article especially as argentina couldn’t afford a can of coke!


Still, they are in a marginally better position than the UK, and have been for 1years.


Really? Was that while they had ships actually sinking in port, or losing a sub with all hands?

andy reeves

i was on artrim [email protected] damaged and forced the santa fe into grytviken harbour, the only argentine casualty was felix artuso, a petty officer shot by a marine who thought he was going to do something bad to the submarine the ships company made the casket from parts of the wardroom paneling and the door to the captain’s cabin! he was buried with full honors alongside the grave of sir ernest shackleton, the famous explorer, at grytviken on south georgia googling artuso’s name should bring up pictures of the grave.r.i.p


Much must have changed over this last year..


Nope they certainly aren’t.


Sad man


You are, but don’t keep putting yourself down, there must be a hobby you can take up?


Sad child


Very constructive post! Keep it up.


I wonder if these Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion Argentina are getting have had the airframe mods as a result of service with the US Navy. If not, they will likely slowly end up like the P-3B’s purchased previously.


Maritime patrol aircraft are as much about a nation policing it waters and providing for its responsibilities under Unclos articles than war fighting ability. Good to see Argentina take on its responsibilities.


Only china investment can save the argies military ,one of those very expensive loans that a lot of poor nations have taken.

andy reeves

and could never afford to pay for.


I find it baffling that the RAF have been begging and borrowing aircraft from anyone who had one ever since they canned Nimrod without planning, and the US had aircraft we could have bought and flown off the shelf. Fine build and buy the best, but have a plane in the sky while you do it!

Paul T

Rob – at the end of the day the Forces are at the mercy of the Government, the atmosphere in 2010 was all about cuts and savings as SDSR 2010 proved,it would have taken a brave person to ask for an alternative to a failed project.

andy reeves

i think they’ll retire their sopwiths now