According to Forecast International, recent reports indicating Argentina plans to purchase $2 billion worth of military equipment are unrealistic.
The group say that for the time being, Argentina will have to rely on donations from other countries to fill the gaps in its military capabilities.
In a letter leaked to El Destape, Argentine ambassador to the U.S. Martin Lousteau listed equipment needed by the Argentine Army and Air Force to conduct peacekeeping missions, combat terrorism, and counter illegal trafficking.
The list, which would be the envy of even the best-equipped militaries, included F-16 fighter jets, Stryker armored vehicles, air surveillance radar systems, AH-1 Cobra Helicopters, UH-60 and CH-47 transport helicopters, and anti-tank weaponry.
The list has become a scandal in Argentina, as political opponents of President Mauricio Macri have attacked him over its contents.
Since his election in 2015, President Macri has drastically cut government spending and subsidies. And, while these measures will improve the government’s finances and help the economy become more sustainable in the long-term, they are causing short-term hardships for many Argentine citizens who have been accustomed to receiving government subsidies.
Rumors that the Argentine military is purchasing advanced, and expensive, weaponry during a time of government austerity has angered those who are now suffering. It would be callous, to say the least, if the Argentine government were to spend $2 billion on advanced weaponry while cutting back on popular social services.
Argentina is not, however, planning to purchase this equipment. In February, former Minister of Defense Julio Martinez ruled out a purchase of fighter jets. So, that takes at least one item off the list.
Furthermore, Forecast International conducted an analysis of the letter between Ambassador Lousteau and US Representative Pete Visclosky. Based on that analysis, Forecast International does not believe that Argentina’s government has any intention of purchasing the listed equipment.
The group say that Argentina just doesn’t have the means to purchase the equipment it listed. In 2016, Argentina’s defence budget was about $4.6 billion. And, with 73.9 percent of that funding going towards personnel expenses, there is little left over to acquire expensive equipment.
Instead, Argentina will have to make due with purchasing less expensive equipment, such as T-6 Texan II trainer aircraft, and upgrading current equipment such as its IA-63 Pampa III.
Forecast International is a major provider of ‘Market Intelligence and Consulting in the areas of aerospace, defence, power systems and military electronics’.