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Replacement Fighter Aircraft
Reemplaz aviones de combate

Clearly the path to purchase fighter plane to Argentina suffers from two main obstacles: First, the inability of Argentina to finance a purchase with cash. Second, a serious lack of options in terms of new construction multirole fighters, and is thus pushing platforms like Dassault Mirage F-1, IAI Kfir, and Tiger Northrop F-5 II.

Argentina's search for a new multirole fighter has been eventful, to say the least. Their program began in 2013 when it tried to acquire a series of Mirage F-1 of the Spanish Air Force, but the inability of the Argentine government to finance a purchase and a number of technical issues sank the deal. Later, Argentina sought the ex-Israeli IAI Kfir, but uncertainty about the condition of the airframe, its age and insufficient backing from the Argentine government put a fence in front of that road. In 2014, Argentina began to think Chinese and Russian aircraft combat; nothing came from that side. In 2014 or 2015, someone proposed the idea of acquiring the JAS-39 Gripen, but the British intensive components on that plane made it a non-transformed option.

The Argentine Air Forces's four ground-attack/interceptor squadrons evidenced the service's preference for the French-manufactured Mirage fighter. Two of the squadrons were assigned a total of 15 Mirage Ill-EAs and 22 Mirage III-CJs that were acquired from Dassault-Breguet in 1983. The remaining two squadrons were equipped with nine Mirage 5-Ps, received in 1982, and some 32 of the Israeli Aircraft Industries' Dagger, a model similar in design to the Mirage 5-P. At least six of the Daggers were purchased in 1983. By early 1984 these 78 aircraft were being equipped with aerial refueling probes, reportedly with assistance provided by Israel. The Daggers were also being modified with what was called the Integrated Navigation and Firing System; the designer of the system was not identified.

In recent years several news circulated about possible purchases of second-hand fighter jets to the FAA, as the Mirage F1M disabled by Spain, the Mirage 2000 offered by the government of Paris and the batch of Kfir Block 60 proposed by Israel. However, political and financial factors eventually dilute the negotiations. Recently there were rumors about the possibility that Argentina could opt for a deal with China involving JF-17 fighters.

A-4 Skyhawk

The air force's three ground attack squadrons were reported in early 1984 to be equipped with 54 A-4P Skyhawks manufactured in the United States. Some of the Skyhawksperhaps as many as 24were previously in service with the Israeli air force. In early 1984 Israel sought United States permission to transfer Skyhawks then in its inventory to Argentina. A number of the jets were also reported to have been transferred "amid great secrecy" to Argentina in mid-December 1983, shortly after the United States embargo on military sales to that country was lifted. Reports were vague as to how many of these aircraft were destined for use by the air force; some were believed to be assigned to the navy.

The 1994 US sale of A-4M aircraft to the Argentine Air Force came only over the strong objections of the British government. Once the US government approved the sale the British lobbied strenuously to limit the level of sophistication of the avionics the aircraft could carry. It took concerted lobbying by the Argentine Defense and Foreign Ministries in both London and Washington before Britain and the United States came to an agreement that allowed for installation of radars with more sensitive "early warning" technology.

Still, the Northrop/Grumman "ARG-1" radar had its limitations. It lacked any beyond visual range capability to lock weapons onto targets before the pilot can see those targets. Two or three British Tornados, which can see beyond the horizon, would wreak havoc with the whole squadron of the Skyhawks, they would be blown out of the sky before they knew what hit them.

Owing to the fact that most of the fleet is now totalling well over 30 years of FAA service, service life extension programs, weapons systems upgrades and major overhauls are becoming customary and proceeding as budgetary allocations are made available for individual projects.

Argentina unsuccessfully negotiated with France, Spain and Israel to acquire used aircraft. Another possibility would be the purchase of the 12 used Mirage 2000s acquired by the Brazilian Air Force from France in 2005. These were retired by Brazil at the end of 2013 because of high maintenance costs and problems with parts availability - the aircraft had over 10,000 flight hours each.

In August 2013 the Sunday Express revealed details of a contract to buy 20 French Mirage fighter jets from Spain, giving Argentina the ability to attack Port Stanley airfield with laser guided bombs.

A large public air show on 30 November 2015 saw the Mirage fleet decommissioned after over four decades in service since 1973. This left a hole in the Argentine Air Force's capability with no replacement in sight. been found. The newly elected government of Maurico Macri will be responsible for obtaining replacement fighters subject to available funding after it came to power in December 2015.


In 2013 China offered to co-develop and produce part of their FC-1/JF-17 fighter in Cordoba, Argentina, in order to sell the aircraft to the Argentine Air Force. Officials from Argentine aerospace company Fabrica Argentina de Aviones (FAdeA) told IHS Jane's at the 2013 Paris Air Show they had multiple discussions with Chinese officials over potential co-production of the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) FC-1 multirole combat aircraft.

Richard D Fisher reported that discussions were far from concluded, with FAdeA officials saying "technology transfer" issues remain a sticking point. This was the first formal effort that could lead to the co-production of a modern Chinese fighter in Latin America. FAdeA officials said the co-produced FC-1 could be called the 'Pulqui-III', recalling FAdeA's Pulqui-II, Latin America's first swept wing jet fighter.

Chinas President Xi Jinping visited a number of Latin American countries in July 2014. Although China announced several new projects in strategically-sensitive industries, including collaboration with Argentina on a nuclear reactor, the significant Chinese arms sales to the nations that Xi was visiting were played down. There was no public mention of talks with Argentina to co-produce Chinas JF-17/FC-1 fighter.

Somehow, the situation in Argentina was not too far from Pakistan, but the latter has a new solution for their warplane multi-role to come to fruition right now. However, the similarities are genuine, especially in terms of the lack of funding and options; this reality could favor the prospects of selling Pakistan JF-17, if a strategy with well-defined objectives commitments runs.

Saab Gripen

In October 2014, Defense Minister Agustin Rossi announced the purchase of 24 Saab Gripen fighters, which were to have been provided by Brazil. The Minister of Argentine defense, Agustn Rossi, and his Brazilian counterpart, Celso Amorim, signed the Strategic Alliance cooperation agreement in Aeronautical Industry (IAEA) document which provides for negotiations so that our neighbor has access to Gripen NG Swedish SAAB will be manufactured in Brazil, paving the way for the acquisition of 24 units of the model to the FAA. However, as almost 30% of the fighter plane chosen by the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) contains components provided by the United Kingdom, it was expected that the Argentine claim to face many difficulties. It would have been the first major purchase of new military aircraft by Buenos Aires since the Falklands War three decades ago. However, the deal was called off because some of the jets parts were made in the UK.

Sukhoi Su-24

The Falkland Islands - a UK overseas territory Argentina lays claim to - allegedly reviewed their defenses after news Russia may offer Argentina fighter jets. Moscow could swap them for beef and wheat, UK's Daily Express said in an exclusive report December 28, 2014. According to the portal British news Sunday Express , the Air Force Argentina (FAA) may receive about a dozen fighter aircraft Sukhoi Su-24m2 2020. The deal, he said the portal would have begun to take shape during the visit Russian President Vladimir Putin to the country in July this year. Putin would have offered military aid in exchange for commodities that Russia needs, including, meat and wheat. It is important to remember that Ukraine, until recently, was one of the main sources of food for the Russians, and the current belligerence between the two countries, overlapping the measures taken by the European Union in light of this situation, it is demanding the search for alternatives .

The deal reportedly involves a lease/lend of twelve Sukhoi Su-24 all-weather attack aircraft, which NATO calls "Fencer A". The jets will be able to do air patrols over the Falklands' capital, Port Stanley. According to the tabloid, Ministry of Defense officials fear Buenos Aires will take delivery of the planes well before the 2020 deployment of the Navys 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and its F-35B fighters, leaving a real window of vulnerability.

Russia had been developing friendly ties with Argentina since 2010, when it signed a "historic" contract with Buenos Aires and delivered two Mi17 assault helicopters to serve in the country's national Air Force. The sale was the first time the Argentinean military had bought Russian military hardware. President Vladimir Putins visit to Argentina in July 2014 also helped boost relations between the countries, possibly paving the way for exchanging Russian military hardware for food and goods.

Kfir C.10

The Argentinian authorities did not sign the $390-million contract for the purchase of 14 Israeli Kfir fighter jets, deciding to leave this decision to the next government. In early November 2015, media reports emerged that the two countries had finalized the deal after almost two years of talks but Argentina had suspended it indefinitely amid issues over weapons systems and upgrades. "This is not a step back, we didnt sign the contract given the upcoming change of government," Defense Minister Agustin Rossi said.

Northrop F-5E Tiger II

With efforts to buy the 14 (IAI) Kfir C.10 come to naught, by May 2016 instead the Argentine Ministry of Defense was looking at the possibility of acquiring 12-14 US Northrop F-5E Tiger IIs. Although used to the muddle, so far as a modern multi-function platform can be acquired, it is clear that the Argentina Air Force had very few options available to meet its needs.

Super tendard

MercoPress South Atlantic News Agency reported 22 May 2017 that Argentine had agreed to purchase several refurbished Dassault-Breguet Super tendard fighter bombers originally from the French navy. These Super tendards are similar to those the Argentine Navy used during the Falklands conflict in 1982 and will be incorporated to the Air Force. Talks with France also involved the possible purchase of engines to power 20 Argentine Pucaras aircraft that are currently grounded due to maintenance issues.

The transaction provides excellent value, and under very favorable conditions, Defense Minister Julio Martinez was quoted during a visit to France. The Argentine Air Force cannot do without supersonic aircraft. Our pilots must be able to train in modern aircraft. However Martinez declined to detail the financial details of a possible deal since negotiations are not finished.

Minister Martinez also acknowledged that the United States has offered to sell Argentina F-16 fighter fighters but the Mirage would better fulfill the needs of the country. The operating cost of the F-16 makes them almost prohibitively expensive, he said. Argentina had previously been in talks with Israel for their Kfir fighter.

FA-50 Golden Eagle

Within the framework of the G20 leaders summit, President Mauricio Macri and his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in agreed to the purchase 10 FA-50 Golden Eagle supersonic aircraft for about 200 million dollars. According to the newspaper Infobae, the "gold brooch" of this purchase was given by both leaders during a meeting that they kept private in Japan and where they reviewed the bilateral relations between which Argentina's purchase of the South Korean supersonic aircraft is found. " The intention of the government is to acquire two FA-50 aircraft this year and another eight next year, which will give air defense superiority to our defense, " said a government official.

South Korean airplanes will replace the scarce A-4AR fighter that the Air Force has and the financing of that operation will be 10 years with an extension for another two years. To meet the USD 200 million that the operation will cost, a special extrabudgetary item will be allocated. The acquisition to strengthen military equipment is also part of the Government's strategy to relaunch the national aviation factory FADEA, which has just closed a sale of two PAMPA planes to Guatemala and is negotiating the sale of six other aircraft to Paraguay for a global cost for the two operations of USD 130 million.

Military sources related to the Air Force explained that South Korea's FA-50 aircraft are advanced and supersonic training aircraft. However, they are not fighter jets and their maintenance could be very expensive. Argentina has Pampa planes at the Combat Pilot School at the IV Mendoza Air Brigade and the idea would be to replace the machines that are flying with the new FA-50.

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Page last modified: 23-07-2019 18:52:32 ZULU