BUENOS, AIRES, ARGENTINA — The Argentine Air Force [FAA] ordered the permanent deployment of three Pampa III Block II aircraft at the Rio Gallegos Military Air Base to increase the presence and military projection in the southern part of the territory. To this end, the Ministry of Defense decided to re-establish X Air Brigade there, from which the Mirages once operated.
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The head of the FAA, Brigadier General Xavier Julian Isaac said, this unit will be the only brigade with a variety of air and reconnaissance assets, with attack aircraft, transport aircraft, radar, and artillery. In addition, the Air Force is expected to have the Mi-171E before the end of the year to support Antarctic logistics and military search and rescue.
In addition to the aircraft, which were based in the VI Avibrigade stationed at Tandil, personnel, and equipment were allocated, no longer as a deployment unit, as was done several times last year, but permanently.
The Pampas, which are equipped with a 30 mm cannon and two Colibrí under-wing pods, pending the completion of the FN Herstal HMP400 LCC 12.70 tests, will operate once a month from the joint base they want to strengthen in Ushuaia. Since May 2022, an RPA-170M radar manufactured by Invap has been operating in the Fuegian city of Rio Grande, which has increased surveillance capabilities.
Defense Minister Jorge Taiana said during the ceremony that the restoration of the X Air Brigade meets the need to deploy combat-capable forces to the south in a strategic area of the territory. “The reopening of the X Brigade is directly related to Argentina’s vision, which is heading south, to the Atlantic Ocean, the islands, and Antarctica, which are strategic components for the country’s development,” he said.
For his part, Isaac stressed that Rio Gallegos is the deployment base, the projection point to all Antarctic operations, and from where the military radar operates every day of the year. “We have anti-aircraft artillery guns, but we lacked air resources, so we brought the Pampa III Block II, in the future this unit deserves a more effective weapon system.”
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