The Ministry of Defence in Argentina recently released a statement listing different options to meet their longstanding need for new fighter aircraft.

The options include, upgraded Israeli Kfirs, Mirage F1s, armed versions of the Italian M-346 Master trainer and the Korean FA-50.

The M-346 Master is allegedly too expensive for Argentina, according to defence sources in the country.

The favourite contender is a proposal from France to supply a squadron of Mirage F-1, at a unit cost of $23 million, fully equipped with five years of logistic support.

Argentina recently confirmed that all Air Force Lockheed Martin A-4AR Skyhawk fighters (one pictured above) have been grounded.

This comes after a significant period of decline, the Argentine armed forces have ceased to be a capable military force. In August 2015, the Argentine air force retired its Mirage fighters, with only a handful of them even flyable.

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 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. They’re now even getting rid of their only semi-capable fighter aircraft.

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.

These orders, issued on 11 August, take effect 18 August. A next step will cut Monday and Tuesday as working days. Moreover, air force officials said any aircraft taken out of service will not undergo maintenance for now.”

This leaves the Argentine military with just two types of jet aircraft A-4’s and IA-63’s and both are 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.

All Mirages were officially decommissioned in November 2015. Only 4 of the A-4’s were airworthy with the rest in storage at Villa Reynolds.

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.

Photo Credit: Chris Lofting [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html) or GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons.

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jon livesey
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jon livesey

I think that Argentina would be wiser to concentrate on internal armed policing. They face no external threats, so rebuilding their Air Force looks like a vanity project.

Steve
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Steve

Whilst your right and they have bigger problems domestically, the same could be said for the UK and why we spend so.much on our military when we have no real external threats.

Beno
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Beno

Steve, do you, at all , keep up with world news ?

There have litterally been attacks on our soil in recent years.

Russia buzzes our borders monthly. And tries to get subs into our waters.

And Argentina once invaded the falklands. Do you recall that ?

Their corvettes directly threatened UK oil exploration just a few years back.

The UK and her teratories represents some valuable global assets. It would suit quite a few states if we were not quite so big and not quite so powerful.

Patricio M Aguero
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Patricio M Aguero

@Beno, Argentinian here, Falklands islands do stand in our continental platform,so to speak but main issue here will be ,no Argentinian government will try such new invasion or retake of any sovereign territory,mainly due to better foreign politics and given the fact that our last war was caused by a drunken dictator trying to covert up human rights violations and other issues, there’s a small portion of population, radicals, that still think this islands should go back to our property, but mainly, we don’t give a royal .uck about them, needless to say that the UK stand more foreign menaces… Read more »

Steve
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Steve

This is an interesting debate and too many parts to it for myself to fully understand. I am not saying we should remove our militiary, but i do think the size of it is partially for vanity. Let’s start knocking off the easy parts. Falklands, Argentina is in no position to attack, its army/navy/airforce is in a mess and would take decades to rebuild, so much so that we now only have a OPV defending the waters. Should they start to seriously rearm, then we could match them thanks to a significantly larger economy. We also wouldn’t really don’t need… Read more »

Rob
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Rob

Steve, please stop talking nonsense.
Besides contradicting yourself several times during your ramblings, a lot of what you said is completely incorrect.

Although I do agree that the air campaign against ISIS is a show for the media and international community.

Matt
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Matt

I agree with Rob in the sense that Steve is contradicting himself.
Your scenario concerning Russia invading the UK supports the need, not only for our armed services, but for a significant increase.

The United Kingdom also has a military responsibility within the UN and NATO organisations.

Secondly, your assessment of Gibraltar is a half truth. Yes Spain could overwhelm the forces present on the rock but the size and ability of our armed services as a whole is a deterrent. Britain would counter attack and secure the Rock back.

John
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John

the counter to russian aggression is our continuous at sea deterrent – we mostly use our armed forced things like ISIS these days – but by the same token we must keep our defence capabilities current or we risk being an easy target that must rely solely on nuclear deterrent

John K.
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John K.

Fully agree! This colonialist perspective is frankly pathetic.

Matt
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Matt

To be fair to their navy, whilst the submarine force spent only a few hours of 2014 submerged their destroyer force managed several months underwater.

Eamonn
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Eamonn

Maybe a regular deployment of a Trident submarine along with a destroyer should certainly make the Argentine government think. Or sanctions.