More than 4 years have passed since the signing of the memo with the European company Airbus Helicopters, although without concrete effects on its acquisition. The agreement dealt with Argentina’s interest in obtaining 12 units of the H125 helicopter to replace the old AS 315B Lama fleet of both the Argentine Army and the Argentine Air Force.
According to official sources consulted by Zona Militar, it is the Air Force that is fine-tunning its budget so that it can be done in the short term with an amount of around 4 units. The number to be acquired cannot be less than 3 units due to the maintenance cycle of the helicopters and to the fact that in operations in high mountains they work in tandem, with two aircraft in flight for safety reasons.
It is notorious that despite the operational and logistical effort to maintain the 3 Lama units, the life cycle of these helicopters, essential for high mountain tasks, is at the limit. From this, the Argentine Air Force planned its replacement some time ago which brought several proposals from foreign companies.
The H125 / AS 350 B3 competes with Bell Textron and Leonardo products, despite the fact that for technical and price reasons the institution turns to the Airbus Helicopters product.
The Airbus AS350 B3 Plus, is a single-engine light utility helicopter originally designed and manufactured in France by Aérospatiale and Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters). It is the most powerful in the series; it has the highest external load capacity in elevated regions and high temperature regions with state-of-the-art instrumentation that allows optimum operability. The B3 Plus version is high performance and is powered by a Turbomeca Arriel 2B1 engine with a digital control mechanism.
The Ecureil AS350 B3 Plus
Seats: 1-2 crew members + 6 passengers - Capacity for 1 stretcher Cruising speed: 161 mph Maximum range with standard tank: 391,4 miles Motorization: Mono turbine Engine: Turbomeca Arriel 2B Maximum power: 847 shp Empty weight: 2917 lb. Hook capacity: 3086,4 lb. Maximum flight altitude: 23000 ft.