The Argentine Defence Minister described the move as British “imperial pride” before posting “Malvinas Argentinas” on Twitter.
A letter received by the Argentine Defence Minister from aircraft manufacturers KAI reads:
“Dear Mr Ambassador,
Please accept our sincere appreciation for your interest in and attention to the FA-50 program.
As you may be aware the export of six (6) major components produced by UK suppliers for FA-50 is subject to the approval of the UK Government, which has arms embargo against Argentine in place. It is our regret to inform you that the UK export license issue is not resolved to date. Although KAI did not yet find a solution, KAI is making a reasonable endeavor to resolve this UK E/L issue.
Senior Manager & Chief
International Business Strategy Department”
Agustín Rossi, the Argentina defence minister, posted on Twitter (translated by Google Translate):
“We have been in dialogue with the Korean company KAI to purchase the FA 50 fighter aircraft for the FAA. Today, we are informed that Great Britain, which produces 5 components of the FA 50, prohibits the sale to our country. New sample of imperial pride. #MalvinasArgentinas”
Six major components, not five.
Additionally, I can’t help but think that tweeting “Malvinas Argentinas”, Spanish for ‘the Falklands are Argentine’, is not really helping his case. Surely all that does is validate the UK decision to block this sale?
What is the FA-50?
The FA-50 is a light combat aircraft manufactured by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) for the Republic of Korea Air Force. It is a light combat version of KAI T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic advanced jet trainer and light attack aircraft.
What is the state of the Argentine military today?
Back in 2017, I wrote an article called ‘Argentina have ceased to be a capable military force due to cuts‘, pointing out that the Argentine air force had recently retired its Mirage fighters with only a handful of them even flyable. At the time, 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.