The US government has approved the sale of 24 second-hand F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters to Argentina, according to the country’s media.
The information was released by the State Department’s Assistant Secretary for Regional Security, Mira Resnick, who stated that a possible agreement is in the interests of the United States.
The number of fighters is almost double what India (HAL Tejas) and China and Pakistan (JF-17) offer, but they are new aircraft.
The Biden government is also trying to approve US$40 million in funding to help Argentina, the newspaper La Nación said.
Additionally, the package includes the AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles, considered more modern than those used by the Argentine Air Force.
According to the Argentine press, the US effort would be a way to reduce China’s influence in the region. The JF-17 fighter has always been considered the favorite in the competition to replace the Mirage III fighters, retired in 2015.
Developed in partnership with Pakistan, the Chengdu and PAC fighter has advanced features, but does not match the aircraft most used by the Chinese People’s Army Air Force (PLAAF).
It will be up to the Argentine government to decide whether to accept the US offer, however, the matter is delicate due to the proximity of the presidential elections in the country, scheduled for October 22nd.
The current left-wing government is behind the far-right candidate in the polls. Argentine President Alberto Fernández, who is not running, has a visit to China scheduled for the next few days.