Argentina takes delivery of new presidential aircraft as it grapples with lack of genuine fighter jets

VVIP Boeing 757 “ARG 01” jet arrived in Buenos Aires on May 25, anniversary of the independence of the South American country

The government of Argentina has a new presidential aircraft. The Boeing 757 “ARG 01” registration landed in Buenos Aires on May 25, not by chance, the date on which the country’s Independence, which took place in 1810, is celebrated.

The aircraft manufactured in 2000 will replace the “Tango 01”, also a 757-200 acquired by then Argentine President Carlos Menem.

But, unlike the first jet, the 757 ARG 01 received a pompous livery, which displays the Argentine flag across its fuselage and tail.

The arrival of the aircraft, late Thursday afternoon, was also unusual. The pilots made a very low pass over the runway at Jorge Newbery Airport, the Aeroparque, in the center of the capital.

The maneuver considered reckless was criticized on social media and by the local press. ANAC, the Argentine civil aviation agency, said it would analyze the maneuver of the pilots.

Government spent US$ 25 million on the 23-year-old aircraft

The President Alberto Fernández decided to acquire another aircraft after reaching the conclusion that the Tango 01 would require a very large investment to return to flying.

The Boeing 757-200 chosen belonged to C&L Aerospace, which sold it for US$ 25 million, including the Tango 01 as part of the payment.

The agreement was signed in April, but negotiations had been going on for several months. According to the newspaper La Nación, the tender opened by the government anticipated the selection of the aircraft manufactured in 2000 and converted to a VVIP jet in 2005.

The aircraft was delivered in 2000 and converted to VVIP in 2005 (Social media)

Fernández, however, should not enjoy the new jet for a long time. The mandatory, which took over in December 2019, withdrew from running for re-election, a decision announced in April. Argentina faces inflation of more than 100% a year in the midst of a long economic crisis.

The current president has not yet been able to put an end to the choice of supersonic fighters that the Argentine Air Force has lacked since 2015, when it retired its last Dassault Mirage IIIs.

A-4R Skyhawk attack planes guard Argentina’s air defense for lack of options (Chris Lofting / Wikimedia)

The Chinese-Pakistani JF-17 fighter and the Indian HAL LCA Tejas are being evaluated, as well as a second-hand batch of F-16 jets from Denmark – although this alternative has lost strength with the possible transfer to Ukraine.

Without authentic aircraft for air defense, the Air Force has been improvising the A-4R Skyhawk subsonic attack aircraft in the role.


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