After a significant period of decline, Argentina has ceased to be a capable military force.
The Argentine air force recently retired its Mirage fighters with only a handful of them even flyable. The country also confirmed that all their Lockheed Martin A-4AR Skyhawk fighters have been grounded and will not be replaced for the foreseeable future.
The problems don’t stop there, their submarine crews despite benefiting from a recent upgrade need at least 190 days of immersion practice and in 2014 only spent 19 hours submerged. A similar situation is faced by their four destroyers, they don’t have any serviceable weaponry.
Argentine ground forces rarely have the resources for training and are vastly under equipped, their kit dates back to the 70’s and is in very short supply. In addition to this, the Argentine Air Force largely consists of a collection of obsolete aircraft mostly dating back to the 1970’s, which are frequently grounded due to poor serviceability.
According to IHS Janes
“The Argentine Air Force is drastically cutting staff working hours and decommissioning its last fighter aircraft amid continuing budget issues. A recently published daily agenda indicates that the service’s working hours have been significantly reduced, from 0800 to 1300; rationing of food, energy consumption, and office supplies has been directed headquarters staff and property residents; and only the minimum personnel required to staff headquarters, directorates, and commands are working.“
This leaves the Argentine military with just one type of jet, the IA-63 which is subsonic, decades old and barely serviceable. Argentina had looked into buying new Gripen’s from Sweden via Brazil but this was vetoed by the United Kingdom which makes a large number of internal components for the aircraft. They had also looked at JF-17’s from China, but the JF-17s proved too expensive to modify.
When Barack Obama visited in March 2016, Air Force One was accompanied by US Air Force F-16’s because Argentina could only offer Pucarás and Pampas for air defence.
Recently Argentina has decided to suspend plans for new fighter aircraft to replace their grounded A-4AR Fightinghawks until the country’s financial affairs improve. Citing economic trouble, Defence Minister at the time Julio Martínez made clear that there there would be no new combat aircraft purchased in the current economic climate.
This has quashed recent speculation that Argentina was in talks with Russia to buy a number of Mig-29s.