The competition for the new fighter of the Argentine Air Force will have one more competitor, the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
Lockheed Martin, manufacturer of the supersonic jet, should make an offer soon, through the US government, as reported by the Zona Militar website.
The F-16’s entry into the dispute would involve US interest in reducing the Chinese or Russian presence in South America. The main candidate to replace the Dassault Mirage III fighters, retired in 2015, is the JF-17 Thunder, project the joint venture of the Chinese Chengdu and the PAC of Pakistan.
The Argentine Air Force would have even limited its interest in the more advanced F-16 Block 50 variant, discarding previous versions.
The Block 50 fighter is equipped with the lighter and more powerful F110-GE-129 engine, which has been equipped with the Fighting Falcon since the 1990s. It has an AESA AN/APG-80 radar and can fire AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles, AGM-56G Maverick, plus bombs, anti-ship missiles and JDAM ammunition.
The F-16 is operated on the mainland by Chile, which has 46 fighters of the A, B, C and D versions, and Venezuela, which would have 20 F-16A/B jets supplied before the country approached Russia.
The Argentine government is expected to announce the winner of the competition in early 2022.