During the highly anticipated Paris Air Show 2023, the Ministry of Defense of Argentina (Ministerio de Defensa; MINDEF) made a significant announcement. They disclosed that they had signed a letter of intent with the French Ministry of Defence to procure H215 military helicopters for the Fuerzas Armadas, which make up the Argentinian Armed Forces. The deal involves the acquisition of 12 H215 helicopters; however, the specific variant of these new aircraft remains undisclosed. Furthermore, it is yet to be clarified which existing helicopters they will replace within the Argentinian fleet.
At present, the Argentinian Armed Forces utilize a diverse range of helicopter models, with a notable presence of American UH-1 and Bell 206 aircraft. Renowned aircraft manufacturer Airbus describes the H215 as a robust twin-engine helicopter with a heavyweight design. It holds a CAT A certification, highlighting its exceptional performance capabilities. The H215 is particularly acclaimed for its reliability, boasting an impressive availability rate, and offers competitive operating costs, making it an appealing choice for the Argentinian military.
The Airbus Helicopters H215 (formerly Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma) is a four-bladed, twin-engined, medium-sized, utility helicopter developed and initially produced by French aerospace company Aérospatiale. It has been subsequently manufactured by the successor companies Eurocopter and Airbus Helicopters. The H215 is a re-engined and more voluminous version of the original Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma. Since 1990, Super Pumas in military service have been marketed under the AS532 Cougar designation. In civilian service, a next generation successor to the AS 332 was introduced in 2004, the further-enlarged Eurocopter EC225 Super Puma.
The multi-role version has a large reconfigurable cabin, a wide range of equipment options, a night vision goggle-compatible cockpit and all-weather capability that includes a full de-icing system. It covers the full spectrum of public service missions, while also extending the roster of missions to aerial work duties. With a shorter airframe and a lighter configuration, the version for aerial work offers an optimal payload capacity, making it the rotorcraft of choice for aerial work and firefighting missions. in addition to the two pilots, the short-fuselage H215 can accommodate up to 15 passengers, while the stretched-fuselage H215 increases this to 20 passengers in a comfortable configuration.