Argentina’s new president, Javier Milei, would have followed the predictable path in his decision to re-equip the country’s Air Force with a fighter jet.
According to Argentine outlets, Lockheed Martin’s F-16 was chosen and will be passed on by Denmark.
Fuerza Aerea Argentina is expected to receive 24 fighters and perhaps one more aircraft, according to Clárin newspaper. The announcement should take place soon.
In recent weeks, Milei met with the United States ambassador to Argentina, Marc Stanley, while a delegation from Denmark was in the country recently to discuss the matter.
The choice of the F-16, even though they were manufactured in the 70s, was expected given the political stance of the new president, an ultra-liberal.
Sino-Pakistani fighters were favorites
Successor to leftist President Alberto Fernandéz, Milei distanced himself from the most considered offer until then, the purchase of JF-17 fighter jets, manufactured by a joint venture between the Pakistani PAC and the Chinese Chengdu.
There was also an Indian offer, made by the manufacturer HAL, which suggested replacing British components in the Tejas light fighter.
Although cheap, modern and new, the JF-17 Thunder III faced profound changes in systems and doctrines used by the Argentine Air Force.
According to InfoBae, the original US proposal was to sell 34 F-16 fighters, but the number was reduced by 10 planes, which will be passed on to Ukraine.
The change in direction of competition for a replacement for the Dassault Mirage III fighters, retired in 2015, occurred during the previous government, when Joe Biden’s administration sought to approve the sale of the F-16 and also P-3 Orion maritime patrol planes deactivated by Norway.
The movement aimed to limit China’s influence in the region, which, like Milei’s election, became obvious.