Argentine Navy abandons Super Étendard fighters purchased in 2019 – report

Five aircraft bought secondhand from France depended on new ejection seats to be reactivated, but the Navy was unable to find a supplier

The plan of the Armada Argentina (Argentine Navy) to reactivate its squadron of fighter aircraft ended. According to Zona Militar, the five Dassault Super Étendard Modernisé jets, bought second-hand from France in 2019, will not be activated. The decision was taken by the Ministry of Defense of the country this week.

As the outlet reported in a critical tone, the reason for abandoning the program is an “incomprehensible measure”. Argentina has been unable to acquire ejection seats for French jets due to sanctions from the United Kingdom, which has been prevented from buying weapons with British content since the end of the Falklands War in 1982.

The ejection seat system for the Super Étendard is supplied by Martin Baker, a British company. The development of an alternative solution also did not go ahead due to lack of funds.

The Super Étendard Modernisé arrived in Argentina in 2019

The purchase of the five combat aircraft was announced by the Argentine government in January 2018 during an official visit by then-President of Argentina Mauricio Macri to Paris. The jets, in addition to a package of spare parts, radars, spare engines and a flight simulator, cost the Argentine government US$ 12.5 million.

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The Modernisé version are the most up-to-date of the Super Étendard and served with the French Navy until 2016 operating aboard the nuclear aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. Later, the aircraft were replaced by the Rafale M, a naval version of the Dassault fighter.

Dassault Super Étendard of the Argentine Armada takes an Exocet missile under its wing (Armada Argentina)

Protagonist in the Falklands War

Although it has no airworthy aircraft, the Argentine Armada is still described as the last operator of the Super Étendard.

Argentine Super Étendards gained notoriety during the Falklands War in 1982, when they successfully attacked British ships with AM39 Exocet missiles.

The country’s fleet had 14 fighters, delivered by France from 1979. The Argentines also operated the French jet onboard the aircraft carrier ARA 25 de Mayo, decommissioned in 1997.


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