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.


  1. Nothing new, the new government is wisely focused on get its economy on a more sustainable footing, and rooting out corruption and waste in the defence establishment and wider government before its able to make significant capital spend on big ticket items, which I believe Macri is not currently interested in.

  2. Still be vigilant of a surprise attack or spoiling intervention to interrupt Falklands commerce or military capabilities.
    Argentina might lack conventional forces to threaten the Falklands but could still use special forces, although this would not deliver sovereignty to them of the islands.
    Once Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales enter service the spectre of invasion will be resolved for next 50 years.

    • Well PofW anyways, they have been here (Canada) and to Australia offering to sell us QE when PofW is completed. We said no and I don’t thin my Auzzie counterparts were overly interested either, however maybe other nations were approached and have struck up discussions.

    • @Mr Bell Seriously? In what world do you think Argentina is remotely planning any kind of military option against the Falklands?

      Our two aircraft carriers, while wonderful pieces of kit, are not going to be relevant for any struggle over the Falklands simply because Argentina has made it clear it’s going to be using diplomacy. It has to, let’s face it, it hasn’t got any cash to restore its armed forces even if it wanted to.

      The UK needs to be focused on making friends in the OAS and countering any diplomatic moves Argentina makes – especially with regard to Brazil and Chile.

      best Tim62

    • Is ornery your comment! What would you do if someone takes your house, throws you out and says it belongs to him because he is stronger?

  3. The Falklands are well defended anyway even without the two superb carriers that are coming into service.. Has over 1000 military personnel plus 200 FIDF personnel, 4 Typhoon jets, air defence missiles… Land Ceptor air defence missiles coming into service by the end of this decade for the FI.
    The UK could also send a battle group size force and a nuclear sub if needed.

      • Most prior strategic defence reviews have been by the tories including that carried out in 1982 which planned to remove the Antarctic Research Vessel from its base in The Falklands. This provided Galtieri with the excuse he needed to invade and the result of which was the task force being sent out. With the loss of Atlantic Conveyor, Sheffield and Coventry etc. and all the life’s lost and maimed, what a brilliant piece of government policy! It would have been cheaper and less harrowing not to have the review in the first place.

  4. There are other threats , brazil does support the argies and they have a capable invasion force , plus you can never count out russia who always sniffs around for more natural resources and that the argies are now looking to buy russian aircraft

    • @dave12 Sorry but the idea that Brazil would deploy a force to invade the Falklands is nonsense. And Argentina is not going to be buying Russian aircraft – Argentina’s defence minister Julio Martínez is cited above saying so. They don’t have any money whether they’d like the aircraft or not.
      best Tim62

        • You are certainly right to cite Brazil as a potential diplomatic ally of Argentina when it comes to the Falklands – that is really the main arena this dispute is going to play out in coming years. Best

          • Although there is almost no significant risk/threat to the Falklands in the short to medium term ( although you should never say none at all, because we don’t know what we don’t know, that’s why have an armed forces). Long term I would say the threat to the Falklands is very real.

            In the 20-50 year time frame, you are looking at a world heading towards very significant resource stretch and especially resources needed to power high tec economy’s. It’s going to start getting desperate and within that context the likley hood of the antartic treaty holding is probably nil ( it’s going to be packed with resources we need to survive the challenges of a warming world). The reality is a lot of the world is going to get resource desperate and the Falklands are the key the bit of the antartic that’s accessible and not buried under ice sheet. the regional powers (Brazil) and other world powers are ( China, maybe India) are going to want the BAT ( and it will come to a piont that we will likely give into need and start exploiting the BAT). So it may not be Twenty years but within 50 years ( the life of the new carriers) I can see a major conflict exploding in the south Atlantic.

            A simple truth, it’s the last unexploited land mass on the planet, when we all get desperate ( and all risk assessment say the worlds going to get desperate as hell ) does anyone think treaty will Stop exploitation. The moment the Treaty fails is the moment that everyone but our very good friends are going to try and take control of the BAT. That’s when the Falklands will become very hot Indeed.

  5. Brasil does not have a aircraft carrier at the moment ? Have my doubts they would want to go to war with the UK anyway. Don’t forget the UK could send extra Typhoon jets to support the Flight of 4 that are already based there.

    But to be honest as Mr Bell said when the new carriers come into service with the 5th generation F35’s on board plus the Falkland Island defences they will be secure for many years to come.

  6. Anyone who thinks that Argentina can make the political decision to invade is not obnoxious that a droid, the war was more than 30 years ago, 30 years after Hitler, Uk, sold any weaponry to Germany

  7. OK so I doubt there are any on this forum that sympathize with the Argentine Forces plight but no matter how poor they are how low can you go to allow one of your major surface vessels to roll over and sink in Port!! The morale of those Argentinian sailors must be rock bottom.

    • Very true, not a career for anybody in Argentina right now. Which is probably healthy for Argentina given its 20th Century history.

    • It’s a truly tragic sight to see, puts our own forces’ financial woes into some perspective. The new Argentinian government seems keen on engaging with the UK so now might be the time to improve relations recently soured by CFK’s presidency. I think we should be doing more to exploit the farming, fishing and oil opportunities in the Falklands and EEZ and looking to improve trade links with the mainland states.

  8. Although Argentina’s military appears to be in bad shape, it is still wise for the UK to be ready to defend the Falklands. A naval, army, and air force presence which acts as a deterrent to would be attackers also acts as a comfort and strength for the islanders. We must not make the same mistake again which enabled the Argentines to rapidly capture the Falklands and South Georgia.

  9. The Falklands are not the issue, it’s what they give access to and that’s the British Antarctic territory. In the long term there is a high change there will be a war over that. The Falklands are the key to the BAT and the BAT is the best bit (read accessible) of a virgin continent. Time to the Antarctic treaty failing ? ( But probably when world resource stretch really hits in 20-50 years time) Time between Antarctic treaty failure and a major war in the south Atlantic………….

    Also note: the US do not acknowledge our or anyone else’s claims the antartic territory, the have pretty much left it open so that if the Antarctic starts getting exploited they consider it open territory……. The South Americans of course dispute our claim to the BAT as part of the dispute over the Falklands.

    • Jonathan
      I agree that if we’re ranking future threats to the status quo in the Southern Atlantic and BAT, then the breakdown of the 1959 Antarctic Treaty would be the most serious
      best Tim

  10. Given that Argentina is not likely to be attacked by anyone it seems to me that the time is ripe for a re organisation of all their forces concentrating on a decently equipped coast guard and a transport and recce. orientated air force. Both could be invaluable for Antarctic scientific support and environmental protection work, fishery protection and rescue etc. Services that the the Argentinian people could be proud of and a real roll for their country in this ever more difficult world.
    By the way, Jonathan. I think your bang on the money when it comes to the future of the Antarctic.

  11. So the political elites are now saying we have nothing to fear from Argentina. The last time somebody said that, I found myself in the Falklands in 1982,83 and 84 (Perks of being a sapper) and on a BFT in 2014

  12. The BAT makes a good framework for dealing with the future of Antarctica, most likely it will not become a ground for economic development for the time being. Besides, Argentina has renounced to compete with Brazil for regional hegemony, such competition is not any more on the table in Buenos Aires. Chile is nowadays a significant military actor in the Southern Cone, though it is a committed status quo power, with strong friendly relations with the UK. The source of trouble is the diplomatic policy of Argentina towards Chile and Brazil, by putting pressure on them, in order to deny commercial and logistical support to the Falklands. Punta Arenas sea port is not any more a workable base for supplies and repairs for ships from the islands. The only working link that the argies allow is a weekly comercial flight (LAN) from Punta Arenas. If conservative administrations are soon elected in Brasilia and Santiago, there is a slight change that such pressure on the Falklands may be eased.

  13. Tanto miedo les quedo que despues de 35 años de la guerra por las MALVINAS y con las ffaa argentinas desactivadas aun piensan en que se las puede atacar?????? Yo les pregunto, como puede ser que en pleno siglo XXI sigan enarbolando la bandera del colonialismo rancio del pasado? Que hacen ustedes, britanicos a 14.000 kms de su pais en unas islas USURPADAS en 1833 POR LA FUERZA???? Mi pais NO INVADIO las islas en 1982 (NO SE INVADE TERRITORIO PROPIO), solo se intento recuperarlas como ultimo recurso, ya que Gran Bretaña NUNCA TUVO LA VOLUNTAD DE SENTARSE A NEGOCIAR, asi como tambien desconocieron las resoluciones de la O.N.U. de la cual son miembros fundadores, demostrando que les importa un bledo lo que opine la orbe.
    El mundo cambio, YA NO HAY LUGAR PARA DICTADURAS Y TAMPOCO PARA IMPERIOS, por lo que los ciudadanos britanicos deberian replantearse si quieren vivir en el presente siglo o ser parte de un pasado apolillado, sangriento, vergonzoso.
    Por ultimo, no hay razon para que gasten fortunas en bases militares en Malvinas ya que Argentina NO CUENTA CON ARMAMENTO Y SI LO TUVIERA NO VOLVERIA A USAR LA FUERZA. La preocupacion es nuestra, ya que si mi pais ya no es una amenaza cierta, Gran Bretaña quizas intente invadir la Patagonia…..


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