Despite rumors that Argentina could acquire the Tejas fighter from Indian manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the South American country’s defense minister, Jorge Taiana, signed a Letter of Intent for industrial cooperation and the acquisition of utility military helicopters.
The possible purchase of Tejas by Argentina was heralded by the Indian press last week, during the minister’s visit to the country. It has been suggested that Buenos Aires is close to closing a deal with HAL to acquire 15 aircraft for around US$1 billion. The purchase of Indian helicopters, on the other hand, became a more tangible possibility.
HAL and the Ministry of Defence of The Republic of Argentina have signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) on productive cooperation and acquisition of Light and Medium Utility Helicopters for the armed forces of the Argentine Republic. pic.twitter.com/Gwk4iKPVl1
— HAL (@HALHQBLR) July 20, 2023
The Letter of Intent signed between the Argentine government and HAL concerns small and medium-sized helicopters, which would serve to update the inventories of the Argentine armed forces. The number of aircraft intended by the Argentines has not been defined.
In the category of small military helicopters, HAL offers LUH (for Light Utility Helicopter/Light Utility Helicopter). Still in the introduction phase, the aircraft has been used by the Indian army and air force since 2020. The model was even evaluated by Argentine military personnel who accompanied Minister Taina on his visit to India.
Another HAL helicopter that interests Argentines is the medium-sized Dhruv. With more than 300 aircraft produced, the model has been in service with the Indian armed forces (army, navy and air force) since 2002.
It should be noted that a Letter of Intent is the initial phase of a process of negotiation and definition of requirements. It remains to be seen whether or not Argentina will go ahead with the purchase of helicopters and how that bill will be paid, given the country’s current fragile economic situation.
The Argentine army intended to acquire armored vehicles manufactured in Brazil, but the government of the neighboring country would have denied approval for the agreement due to lack of financial guarantees.