The Argentine Ministry of Defense has completed a purchase of 20 Agusta-Bell AB206 helicopters from its counterpart in Italy.
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.
The deal also includes training, 10 GAU-17 machine guns and five beds for use on the helicopters.
Under the $3 million deal, Leonardo will transfer 19 helicopters to Argentina between September and October. The 20th AB206 will remain in Italy, where it will be used to train instructors and mechanics.
Once in service in Argentina, the AB206s will be used primarily for transportation and medical evacuation.
For years, Argentina had difficulty raising funds to make procurements. This was at least partly due to the fact that the country was cut off from global financial markets. President Mauricio Macri has worked to bring Argentina back into the global community, allowing the country to more easily raise capital and to open bids to manufacturers around the world. This will enable the country to make purchases more easily.
Agusta-Bell 206 is a License-built Bell 206 JetRanger helicopters in Italy.
In the Autumn of 1965 Bell signed a deal with Agusta, giving them the license to manufacture the Jet Ranger.
The first official exhibition in Italy of this helicopter took place in Miland and Rome, between the 31st October and the 10th of November 1966. The helicopter (probably sent to Italy expressly for a demonstration) was piloted by the famous pilot Joe Mashmann.
With this helicopter, Agusta had a great commercial success. It remained in production between 1967 and 1996, and nowadays with 956 units, it is on the top of most produced models by the Italian group.