Argentina on a $2 Billion Weapons Acquisition spree for US weapons

Argentina Set to Drop $2 Billion for Largest Weapons Acquisition Since Malvinas War

Published 28 March 2017

Macri hopes to cut a deal with the U.S. to buy Argentina’s largest batch of military equipment in the last 40 years.

Argentina President Mauricio Macri is poised to dole out US$2 billion in large military equipment from the United States in what will be the biggest weapons aquisition since the country’s Malvinas War in the 1980s, according to a report by local outlet El Destape.

The government has tried to justify the largest arms acquisition of the last 40 years by saying the arsenal would help Argentina “fight terrorism.”

The report reveals that the Argentine government ordered the equipment from the United States on June 16, 2016 through the Argentine ambassador in Washington, Martin Lousteau. A letter was sent to Congressman Pete Visclosky, since the U.S. Congress must approve any arms sales abroad.

The purchase had been arranged in an earlier meeting between Visclosky and lawmakers Eduardo Amadeo and Luciano Laspina, of Macri’s governing party, the Cambiemos coalition.

The the list of military supplies requested includes fighter jets, war tanks, medium and long-range missiles and helicopters. The cost, according to the report, exceeds US$2 billion over the next two years.

Also, according to the investigation, almost half of the budget for the Ministry of Defense was cut to allocate funds for the acquisition. The purchase had been approved by Macri after taking office in December 2015.

Currently, Macri and his government face harsh criticism and nationwide protests after alleging that the state didn’t have enough money to raise wages for teachers.

The announcement comes less than a week before the 35th anniversary of the beginning of Malvinas Islands war, on April 2, 1982.

Argentina has claimed sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands since 1833, when the U.K. first occupied the territory. In 1982, Argentina tried to recover the land but was met by a British armed force that defeated the military.

The 10-week battle claimed the lives of 649 Argentine soldiers, more than twice the death toll suffered by British forces, who lost 255.

A U.N. ruling said the Malvinas Islands, known to the British as the Falklands, are in fact in Argentine waters, but they continue to be a self-governed British overseas territory.

Original post telesurtv.net

****-END-****

The report reveals that the Argentine government ordered the equipment from the United States on June 16, 2016 through the Argentine ambassador in Washington, Martin Lousteau. A letter was sent to Congressman Pete Visclosky, since the U.S. Congress must approve any arms sales abroad.

The the list of military supplies requested includes fighter jets, war tanks, medium and long-range missiles and helicopters. The cost, according to the report, exceeds US$2 billion over the next two years.

Contradicting news……..See below………

Argentina has ‘very small’ budget to buy defense aircraft: minister

Tue Mar 28, 2017 | 3:33pm EDT

By Caroline Stauffer | BUENOS AIRES

Argentina has few funds available to replace an outdated military fleet beyond buying 12 Beechraft Texan aircraft to train pilots, Defense Minister Julio Martinez told Reuters on Tuesday.

Martinez said actual plans were more modest than those reported by media in Argentina and Brazil in recent months, which said the government was interested in buying war planes from abroad, including from Brazil’s Embraer or Mig fighters from Russia.

“For now, we do not have much budget capacity,” Martinez said after an event commemorating the end of Argentina’s latest Antarctica mission. “We are only buying training aircraft, and just a few, 12.”

Argentina’s center-right President Mauricio Macri has set an ambitious goal to trim spending and narrow a budget deficit after two terms of free-spending populism under leftist leader Cristina Fernandez.

Martinez did not say how much Argentina was spending on the training planes, only acknowledging that the budget was “very small.”

The Beechcraft Texan planes will help replace 24 Embraer EMB-312 Tucanos that have been used in the air force training school for decades. Beechcraft is a subsidiary of Textron Inc making Beechcraft T -6C Texan II planes that are used for training pilots in several countries.

“We will need 12 more, and then we need a lot of other aircraft, medium-sized transport and other kinds of planes,” Martinez said.

A navy spokesman said in December Argentina was also in talks to buy four C-205 aircraft manufactured by Europe’s Airbus Group SA.

Asked if Argentina would need new aircraft to achieve Macri’s goal of better patrolling borders with Paraguay and Brazil to stop drug flights, Martinez said the training aircraft could potentially also be used for that purpose.

Macri’s government is also looking to restart manufacturing at cash-strapped state-run aircraft producer Fadea, which was previously operated by Lockheed Martin and nationalized under Fernandez. Martinez confirmed a report by state-run news agency Telam last week that said Fadea would manufacture three Pampa training planes this year.

Martinez also said Argentina did not have any immediate plans to purchase arms from abroad, denying statements on Twitter from former President Fernandez who said on Monday that Argentina sought to buy $2 billion of “sophisticated weapons of war” from the United States.

“For now no, no arms,” Martinez said.

(Reporting by Caroline Stauffer; editing by Grant McCool)

Source reuters.com

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