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.

11 COMMENTS

  1. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • @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 than us, sir
          Sorry about the orthography horrors, have a nice day.

        • 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 a fraction of our current military to defend the falklands, all we need is the foresight to reinforce it if it looks like an attack is possible, but that is a policitical story and there is an arguement for us more likely to need to retake than defend, since politicticans are nervous about acting and so probably wouldn’t react until it was too late.

          Gibraltar is totally undefendable, if Spain wanted to take it they could. They have multiple land based airbases close by and a land bridge to pour heavy gear across, but realitistically it won’t happen at least not in the foreseable future.

          Outside them, none of our overseas territories are interesting to anyone.

          Then there is Russia, if they seriously decided to attack us, we would be totally overwhelmed, and having the current size army or none, wouldn’t make a whole lot of difference. Just think how big our army was during the cold war, a period where also the US had huge militairy bases in the UK and across Europe, whilst Russia’s armed forces have got a bit dated but not shrunk that much. If we were serious about countering Russia, we would be investing a lot more in ground based defensive assets, like large quantities of anti-air and anti-ship batteries and heavy gear to use across europe, whilst instead we are investing in carriers which are more about mobility and force projection than defensive abilities, and certainly don’t do a lot to counter russia in Europe.

          So why do we actually need our military, other than to look like a major power, which in turn helps a little with trade negositions.

          Let’s look at our current activities, we are dropping a handful of bombs on ISIS which I suspect isn’t doing a lot to hamper them, beyond nice press stories, if we really wanted to attack them, we would need to put either troops on the ground, but we saw what that does in Iraq/Afgan, where not having enough troops and enough will to do the job meant that we caused a bigger mess than we solved.

          Saying all that, I think we need our militiary and we under invest in it, not because we NEED it, but because we use it for vanity projects, like helping the US in silly wars, and if we are going to do that then we should properly gear/man them to make sure they can do the job safely, but I struggle to see why we actually NEED such a large army.

          The world could change, but we would need to seriously invest to counter any major threat anyway.

          • 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.

          • 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.

          • 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

  2. 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.

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

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here