Argentine Air Force postpones tender for new fighter to 2023

JF-17 Thunder, HAL Tejas and second-hand F-16A/B fighters are the finalists of the program, which should acquire 12 aircraft

Deprived of supersonic fighters since 2015 when it retired its Dassault Mirage IIIs, the Argentine Air Force must still spend some time without a replacement.

According to Zona Militar, Buenos Aires’ decision on choosing a new fighter jet has been postponed to 2023.

It was expected that the definition of the new Argentine fighter could be made by the end of this year. However, when asked by the outlet, Argentine Defense Minister Jorge Taiana stated that the air force is still receiving proposals. “I think that by the end of the year we will have all the offers”, said Taina, implying that the selection of the aircraft should only take place next year.

The Argentine Air Force has three fighter options, the HAL Tejas, offered by India, the CAC/PAC JF-17 Thunder (China and Pakistan) and second-hand Lockheed Martin F-16 A/B fighters from Argentine Air Force stocks. Denmark, in an offer intermediated by the United States. Another competitor was the Russian MiG-35, which ended up discarded last month.

HAL Tejas (HAL)

“This is a decision that has to take into account not only the technical aspects and the quality of the aircraft’s weapons systems, but also has to take into account issues that have to do with financing, with delivery times. These are political decisions that will be taken at the highest level by the President of the Republic”, added Taina.

The Argentine Air Force, which until the 1980s was one of the most powerful in Latin America, today depends on outdated aircraft with limited performance to guarantee the defense of Argentine airspace.

After the retirement of the Mirage IIIs seven years ago, the country’s main combat aircraft became the former McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk, with subsonic performance and more suitable for ground attack missions.

Danish F-16 (Jerry Gunner)
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