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 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.

This has happend multiple times in the last decade, most recently in 2015 when then Argentine defence minister Agustin Rossi announced that negotiations for new aircraft would not go ahead due to financial issues.

This comes not long after Argentina confirmed that all of their last jet fighters, Lockheed Martin A-4AR Skyhawks, had been grounded.

This leaves the Argentine military with no jet combat aircraft.

Argentina had looked into buying new Gripen’s from Sweden via Brazil but this was reportedly 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.

Argentine military capability is enduring 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. 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.

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, reporting in 2015:

“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.”

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.

Argentine A-4AR Fightinghawk photo by Chris Lofting, released under GFDL 1.2 licence. [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.

17 COMMENTS

    • Seriously, the UK should reach out to Argentina, giving them some cheap Tornado’s we no longer need may be viewed as an act of good faith and improve relations. They’re not stupid enough to try anything, not while Nato exists, and not while we have 2 super carriers that we can put on their doorstep. And best they have an aircraft the UK knows intimately. They need to police their airspace just like any other nation.

      • Super carriers? The massive Nimitz sized white elephants that can only fly one unproven STOVL aircraft? Where are those aircraft anyway?

      • Why is it down to the UK to ensure Argentina can police their airspace? The Republic of Ireland, Iceland and New Zealand have no Combat Jet Fighter aircraft, im sure Argentina will be fine…

      • I like lateral thinking but one problem is that, even if aircraft were donated, I doubt they’d be able to afford to keep them flying. Enough flight hours to keep pilots current, trained maintenance technicians, spares & fuel etc. Much of Argentina’s military is already on short hours to save money and look at their sub fleet. They have the subs but it’s not clear if they could ever be effectively deployed because the crews and equipment only get 19 hours a year submersed time.

        It all a pretty salutary lesson in how the fortunes of a country can shift so radically. In 1982 Argentina had an effective military with some very well trained elite forces, excellent pilots and, in terms of Exocet and probably other stuff as well, weapons fully on a par with ours. They were able to make us pay a very high price for retaking the islands. Now pretty much everything is gone as far as their military capability is concerned.

        • Ah I see where you are coming from now.
          I suppose I worry in the next few years we might get a government hostile to British interests on the Falklands and willing to spend money of defence, and I wouldn’t have wanted to contribute to training a new generation of FJ pilots.

  1. Leave Argentina to its own mess. Not our problem. The posts here about giving them Tornado aircraft are maddening. The tornado is a far superior aircraft to anything the Argentinian air force had in 82 or since. Thus very dangerous to British forces on falklands or in ships around the islands. Definetly a non starter giving them our ex RAF jets.
    Argentina is a long way away. Best to leave them to sort themselves out.

  2. I agree leave Argentina to sink, I have for one have no desire to see them emerge as any sort of threat to Falklands, so please stop talking about helping a country that is too all intents and purposes an enemy and therefore it is in UK interest to leave them to their own mess, don’t forgot their completely unprovoked aggression in ’82’ left 254 Brits dead, not to mention the 652 approx. of their own young lads, a foolish act by a foolish junta that many Argentines still see as a justified war and I am sure something many would support again , so no we most certainly must not help them, a weak Argentina is far better

  3. Que miedito que nos tienen!!! jajaja si a algún loco en argentina se le ocurre gastar en armamentos ustedes se hacen en los pantalones por los comentarios que leo!!!

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