SANTIAGO, Chile — Argentina has ordered six 407 GXi helicopters from Bell Textron Canada, representatives of the country’s Defense Ministry and the Armed Forces Joint Staff announced Wednesday in Buenos Aires.

The helo will replace part of Argentina’s aging fleet of French-made SA 315B Lama light helicopters, which the Army and Air Force have used for 45 years in mountain-rescue and liaison roles. Three of the 407 GXi helos will go to the Army, and the other three to the Air Force.

The deal is worth $38 million, military sources in Buenos Aires told Defense News on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the contract.

The original requirement, issued almost a decade ago, was for 12 helicopters. This latest contract does not include options for additional aircraft.

Deliveries are to start in the second half of 2023.

“This is the beginning of the so-long-awaited replacement of the Lamas,” said Luis Piñeiro, an independent military analyst based in Buenos Aires. “These helicopters are not only necessary to support military deployments in mountainous Andean areas, but also perform important tasks in community support and rescue of civilian mountain climbers.”

José Higuera is the Latin America correspondent for Defense News.

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