Immediately after the end of World War II, the Argentinean Air Force began a process of modernization, incorporating aircraft such as the Gloster Meteor jet fighter, thus becoming the first air force in Latin America equipped with jet-propelled aircraft. In addition, a number of Avro Lincoln and Avro Lancaster bombers were acquired, creating a powerful strategic force in the region. Although the acquisition of the Lancaster’s may have also been seen as a stopgap solution until the Lincolns arrived.
Delivery & disposal dates are:
PA375 del’d 17-5-48 as B-031, scrapped 23-11-62
PA376 del’d 24-11-48 as B-032, scrapped 7-7-66
PA377 del’d 10-11-48 as B-033, grounded 30-6-65
PA350 del’d 31-12-48 as B-034, SOC 28-10-63
PA348 del’d 25-11-48 as B-035, reduced to spares and scrapped, date unknown
PA349 del’d 19-12-48 as B-036, possibly written off after engine fire during missile trials 20-10-53
PA344 del’d 6-1-49 as B-037, destroyed on the ground during a revolution 17-9-55
PA369 del’d 22-11-48 as B-038, seen at Farewell 22-4-66, thought to have been scrapped soon after.
PA346 del’d 10-12-48 as B-039, SOC 28-10-63
PA365 del’d 16-12-48 as B-040, crashed 16-12-65
RA625 del’d date unknown, but is known to be the last delivery to Argentina as B-041, fate unknown
RA798 del’d 16-12-48 as B-042, damaged beyond repair 17-11-56
RA788 del’d 16-11-48 as B-043, SOC 7-7-66
RA789 del’d 10-11-48 as B-044, SOC 28-10-63 and scrapped
PA378 del’d 8-12-48 as B-045, crashed 11-12-60
Several references, although unconfirmed, report that the Lancaster’s were used operationally at various times during the 1955 revolution; and at least two were converted for freight transport. Unfortunately as the above list shows all of the Lancaster’s were either written off or scrapped in Argentina, none being returned to the UK.
The Argentinean Air Force appears to have keept some of hese aircraft on active service up to 1966, where a reference is made to Grupo 4 - [Escuadron I (Squadron 1), Grupo 4 de Cazabombardeo (Group 4 fighter-bomber) IV Brigada Aerea] being established at El Plumerillo Airport, Mendoza, Argentina to absorb existing Avro Lincoln and Lancaster squadrons.
The only known surviving piece of an Argentinean Lancaster is a FN-50 mid-upper gun turret which was discovered in Argentina and returned to Great Britain aboard HMS Hampshire. After restoration the turret was installed in to the BBMF’s flying Lancaster PA474 in 1975.
Ex-PA376, seen here wearing ferry/test flight civilian registration G-11-15 shortly before delivery to the Argentinean Air Force as B-032