Argentina's drive to replace its aging Mirage
fighter fleet with second hand Israeli Kfir Block 60 fighters has come under criticism
from Argentine Air Force number three, Brigadier Mario Roca. Argentina had planned to purchase fourteen of the fighters (which included two two-seat traners) with the deal to have cost between $220-360 million. The criticisms arose when the first six fighters would arrive within 18 months, but without weapons systems, and all upgrades needed to be completed in Israel. The deal has for now been put on hold
indefinitely with Defence Minister Agustin Rossi deciding to leave the deal to be concluded by the next administration. Opposition politicians have stated that if elected, they would look into replacing the fleet independently.
Argentina’s air force is having a hard time maintaining its core Nesher/”Finger” fighters, even as the Kirchner regime seeks to take control of the Falkland Islands and their potential offshore oil reserves. That led Argentina to search for new fighter options, as the most reliable way of projecting power to likely exploration zones. Britain’s defenses are also much more run down than they were in the 1980s, and their complete lack of a carrier force leaves ongoing protection of the islands’ surrounding economic zones to just 2-4 Eurofighter Typhoon fighters, an offshore patrol vessel, and part of a regular navy ship rotation.
Argentina’s window of opportunity will close when Britain’s advanced carrier force enters service in 2020, which has added urgency on both sides as Argentina tries to make a deal. Can Argentina find its partner?
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