Argentina donates two Mi-17E helicopters to Ukraine

Since 2011, the Fuerza Aérea Argentina (FAA, Argentine Air Force) operates two Mil Mi-171E helicopters in support of the country’s Antarctic operations.

Flown by Grupo Aéreo 7 out of BAM Mariano Moreno, Buenos Aires, the helicopters were also tasked with general transportation duties as well as Search and Rescue (SAR). For operations in Antarctica, the Mi-171E are equipped with additional fuel tanks and a loading crane and painted with a bright orange upper fuselage.

For some years, the FAA has faced challenges to keep the helicopters in the air, despite priority given to Antarctic operations. The supply of spare parts for the Mi-171E, serials H-94 and H-95, as well as overhauling these helicopters has proved problematic in Argentina, and prospects became even worse after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. It seems the United States has urged Argentina to donate the helicopters to Ukraine, however the outgoing Argentinian government opposed the idea.

With the installation of a new Argentine government, the terms of the donation of the two helicopters will be finalised in the days ahead, as the United States is seeking ways to pay Argentina back the value of the helicopters. Meanwhile, the FAA will have to fill the helicopter gap caused by the retirement of the Mi-171Es from supporting Argentinian Antarctic operations.

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