LOCKHEED MARTIN formally assumed management for the former Argentinian Government-run Area De Material Cordoba aircraft factory and maintenance depot on 1 July, as part of its agreement to upgrade 36 McDonnell Douglas A-4M Skyhawks.

Eighteen A-4Ms will be upgraded in Cordoba by the new company, LAASA (Lockheed Aircraft Argentina), while the balance will be modernised by Lockheed Martin Aircraft Services in Ontario, California. Financial problems had delayed the start of the programme, which is now set to begin with the arrival of the first A-4M in California "sometime in the second half of this year", says the company.

Upgrade work will begin in Cordoba in 1996. In addition to the modernisation, which includes avionics, depot inspection and engine refurbishment, the contract calls for LAASA to provide aircraft-maintenance services to the Argentinian air force for the next five years.

Source: Flight International