Argentina has struggled to keep its combat aircraft active. In addition to the lack of an authentic fighter in the Air Force, dealing with the possible purchase of 12 aircraft soon, the Navy of the South American country is unable to put into service the five Dassault Super Étendard Modernisé attack jets, purchased from the inventory of France.
The aircraft, spare parts and a simulator were purchased in 2019 for $12.5 million under the previous government of former President Mauricio Macri. The five jets arrived in Argentina in May of that year, by ship, but since then the Armada (Navy) has not been successful in reactivating them.
The reason is related to the United Kingdom, which supplies the ejection seats used in the Super Étendard. Martin Baker, its maker, could not meet Argentina’s need for new pyrotechnic devices because of an embargo, which has left the planes grounded since then.
According to the Zona Militar, the situation was further complicated by the probable failure in the negotiation with the French company SECAMIC, which had been sought out to supply the component. It is not known if for a technical or financial reason, the agreement should be discarded, say sources of the outlet.
The Argentine Navy would now be talking to Safran and a US company to look for a new alternative to solve the problem and release the Super Étendards to fly.
Attack on British ships
Argentina is currently the only country in the world to have the Super Étendard in service, although no aircraft are in flight condition at the moment. France retired the aircraft, which operated aboard its aircraft carriers, in 2016.
The first batch of 14 naval attack aircraft arrived in Argentina from 1979 and three years later the Super Étendard gained notoriety by sinking British ships with the Exocet missile during the Falkland War.
According to rumors, there would be nine jets still in good condition, in addition to the five fighters of the Modernisé version.