The purchase of supersonic fighters for the Argentine Air Force (FAA) reached a new impasse in recent weeks after the government did not include the project in the 2024 federal budget.
The funds would be needed to be able to announce the aircraft chosen between the Sino-Pakistani fighter JF-17 Thunder, the Indian HAL Tejas and the F-16, from the US.
According to Argentine media, the country’s Ministry of Defense has shown little willingness to move forward with the process, even closer to the presidential elections, the first round of which is scheduled for October 22nd.
Despite this, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs signed the Third Party Agreement this week, in which it accepts the endorsement of the United States if it decides to transfer North American weapons to other countries.
The agreement was a condition for the proposed sale of 38 Denmark F-16 fighters to be formalized. The US demands that countries that operate its planes only resell them in the future with its consent, for fear that components and technology will end up reaching nations like China or Russia.
According to Clárin, the Air Force had already positioned itself in favor of the agreement with the USA. Although the F-16s are older, they are more capable and combat-tested aircraft.
Its competitors, although new, have offers with a smaller number of aircraft, just 12 jets. The Tejas would have been discarded due to its low autonomy while the JF-17 is being offered in two different versions, which displeased the Air Force, said Pucará Defensa.
Just days before the presidential elections, Argentina is experiencing the height of a financial crisis, with uncontrolled inflation and recession.
The government candidate, Sergio Massa, current Minister of Economy, is competing to succeed Alberto Fernandéz with the moderate Patricia Bullrich, and the libertarian Javier Milei, who is leading the polls.
The uncertainty makes the decision to choose a new fighter more difficult amid budget cuts and the limited time available to conclude an agreement.
Apparently, the Argentine Air Force will continue to depend on subsonic A-4AR attack aircraft for some time to defend the country’s borders.