In search of new supersonic fighters for a few years, the Argentine Air Force (FAA) has not yet announced its decision, which should take place by the end of the year.
However, one of the competitors is already out of the running. According to statements by the Chief of Staff of the FAA, Brigadier General Xavier Isaac, the Russian MiG-35 jet is definitely ruled out among the competitors to replace the Dassault Mirage III.
Citing statements by the Argentine general, Zona Militar mentioned that the decision to give up the MiG-35 was motivated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began in February this year.
According to the outlet, the refusal of the Russian fighter was also supported by the Argentine Defense Minister, Jorge Taiana.
However, the war in Ukraine was not the only reason given by the FAA for deferring the MiG-35. Most important would have been the fact that the MiG-35 was not ordered by the Russian Air Force in significant volume.
It is known that only eight aircraft were received and used by aerobatics teams. UAC, on the other hand, has focused production on the Sukhoi Su-30 and Su-34 aircraft, as well as the 5th generation Su-57 Felon fighter.
Furthermore, a potential selection of the MiG-35 could trigger US sanctions, which threatens to punish nations that purchase weapons systems from Russia in the context of the CAATSA Act, enacted by the Donald Trump administration in 2017.
Finally, the FAA also expressed concerns about the Russian manufacturer’s logistical support for the MiG-35.
With the MiG-35 out of competition, the other fighter proposals on the Argentine table are the JF-17 Thunder Block III, from the Sino-Pakistani consortium CAC/PAC, Lockheed Martin F-16 jets, on offer from the US, and the Indian Hal Tejas. The FAA intends to acquire 12 aircraft.
The Air Force lost its supersonic capability in 2015 when it disabled its last Dassault Mirage III interceptor fighters, which were veterans of the Falklands War.
The country’s main combat aircraft became the old McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk more suited to ground attack missions.