Argentina Scraps Plans For New Fighters
15:44pm, 03 Feb 2017
The Argentinian Government has scrapped plans to replace its ageing fleet of fighter jets.
Citing economic woes Defence Minister Julio Martínez said there’ll be no new combat aircraft purchased until an improvement in the country’s financial affairs.
Buenos Aires had been rumoured to be in talks with Russia to buy 15 Mig-29 Fighters and with China to explore purchasing JF-17 Thunder jets.
Having retired its Mirage squadrons in 2015 the Argentinian Air Force is also set to lose its A-4AR Fightinghawk’s in 2018, although the planes have reportedly been grounded over safety concerns since early 2016.
The announcement means that just the domestically built turbo-prop Pucara and turbofan Pampas will be left flying.
The Pucara, a ground attack and counter-insurgency fighter, has been in service since 1974 and with modernisation to 20 of the 32 in the existing fleet they are expected to remain in the air until 2045.
Of the 110 built a number were exported to countries including Sri Lanka and Uruguay, 13 of them were destroyed by British forces during the Falklands War.
The Pampas although equipped with a cannon and hardpoints for the mounting of rockets and missiles is primarily used as an advanced trainer.
New units were ordered in 2013 but inflationary pressures and recession has left the Buenos Aires government as yet unable to finance the building of them.
Last year declassified British Foreign Office documents revealed that Israel had helped arm Argentina’s ruling military junta prior to the invasion of the Falkland Islands, including the supply of Skyhawk fighter jets.
The Royal Air Force currently uses several Typhoon Air Defence Fighters “to watch over the islands and guard them from the air”.
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