Within the framework of the Argentine Armed Forces capacity recovery plan, Defense Minister Jorge Taiana finalized the joint acquisition of six new helicopters with the capacity to operate in high mountains, and to be used in search, rescue and salvage (SAR). The administrative decision signed by Minister Taiana and Chief of Staff Juan Luis Manzur endorses the contract signed by the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces, Lieutenant General Juan Martìn Paleo, with the representative of the Canadian Commercial Corporation (Canadian Commercial Corporation) in December. These aircraft, which will be delivered to the Army and the Air Force, will be financed with contributions from the National Defense Fund (FONDEF).
The application of the FONDEF Law (National Defense Fund) has allowed the project to be carried out and the contract signed after ten years of delay. These are six new Bell 407 GXI Helicopters, training services, manuals, special tools and ground support equipment, of which three will be delivered to the Argentine Army and the rest with particular configurations to the Argentine Air Force. The general objective of this purchase, whose negotiation began in 2011, is to recover the capacity of operations with mountain helicopters, allowing the use of search, rescue and salvage (SAR) units in the mountainous area and support to the community through aero-sanitary evacuations in the event of natural or man-made catastrophes (earthquakes, floods, forest fires).
The Bell 407 is a four-blade, single-engine, utility helicopter. A derivative of the Bell 206L-4 LongRanger, the 407 uses the four-blade, soft-in-plane design rotor with composite hub developed for the United States Army’s OH-58D Kiowa Warrior instead of the two-blade, semi-rigid, teetering rotor of the 206L-4. The Bell 407GXi is outfitted with two dual-channel FADEC turbine, delivering exceptional hot and high performance, fuel efficiency and the ability to cruise at 133 kts/246 km/h. Garmin’s G1000H NXi Integrated Flight Deck, complete with high-resolution displays and faster processors, offers increased brightness and clarity, faster startup and map rendering, as well as connectivity to tablets and smartphones
The Bell 407 is in civil service around the world with airlines, corporations, hospitals, government operators, and private individuals. It is also in service with several military operators. There are more than 1,500 Bell 407s operating around the world in six continents, surpassing six million total fleet flight hours.
The aircraft sets a high standard for single-engine aircraft with its unmatched reliability and performance. The ARH-70 armed reconnaissance helicopter, developed for the U.S. Army was based on the 407, but was later canceled on October 16, 2008. In 2009 the Iraqi Air Force ordered three Bell 407 armed scout helicopters (similar to the canceled ARH-70). A contract for 24 additional Bell 407s with an option for 26 more was awarded in April of that same year. The U.S. Army is managing modifications and installation of military equipment on the helicopters.