From 2015 Fuerza Aerea – Argentina’s Air Force doesn’t have a supersonic fighter into service, after pulling out the last Mirage IIIEA / DA 5P Mara – aircraft used for 40 years.
The replacement of these fighters has been discussed and debated for a long time. Considering also other ways opportunities to overcome the “technology gap” faced by the Argentine Air Force on the new combat aviation equipment.
A talk started about the purchase of 16 to 20 fighters Mirage F1M used by Spain and then 20 aircraft FC-1 / JF-17 Sino-Pakistani production. For some time, the hypothesis of JAS-39 Gripen, which is produced under license in Brazil was also mentioned, but it faced British opposition (and lack of resources in Argentina). An option that was rumored recently was for Kfir Block 60, production of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). This option even had an advantage, having the best price/quality ratio. Yet the fact is that so far none of these solutions could reach any progress because of the serious budgetary constraints of the Argentine armed forces.
However, according to Julio Martinez, Argentine Defense Minister, during his visit to Paris last week to meet his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian, things look differently. In an interview with La Nacion newspaper, Martinez revealed that Buenos Aires initiated talks with Paris to acquire 12 already used fighter jets Mirage F1 (or Mirage 2000).
He did not specify any amounts because the discussions are not yet finalized. But Martinez pointed out that this “deal” will be intergovernmental and will be concluded in “good conditions.”
For Argentine Defense Minister supersonic aircraft are essential for Fuerza Aerea. “Our pilots must be able to train and fly with modern aviation equipment,” he said.
Mr. Martinez also discussed the possible purchase of engines for aircraft FMA IA-58 Pucara, pinned to the ground from the beginning of the year. This light attack aircraft is with two turbofan Astazou XVI-G, production of French company Turbomeca.