Feb 7, 2015

Argentina and China agree fighter aircraft working group

Argentina and China are to form a working group to look at the possible introduction into Argentine Air Force (FAA) service of a new Chinese fighter type.
The working group, which was discussed during a visit by between Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to Beijing, will look at the possible transfer of a range of military equipment to Buenos Aries. Chief among this equipment is either the Chengdu FC-1/JF-17 or the J-10 fighter aircraft.
Ahead of any transfer of aircraft, the working group will examine means by which the FAA might integrate such aircraft into its inventory, and support them once in service. Argentina stands to receive 14 fighter aircraft should the proposed transfer go ahead.
For some years now, Argentina has been trying to replace its antiquated and increasingly unserviceable Mirage IIIEA, Dagger, and A-4 Skyhawk fighter fleets with a newer and more capable type.
News of the Argentine-Chinese working group comes weeks after it was reported that Russia had courted Argentina with the possible lease of Sukhoi Su-24 'Fencer' strike aircraft. While the UK Ministry of Defence took these reports seriously enough to review the defence of the Falkland Islands, the Su-24s would have no really operational utility for the FAA.
Other, more realistic, options that have been touted over recent months include surplus Spanish Mirage F1s, Israeli Kfirs, and Saab Gripen E/Fs. All of these appear to have stalled for either economic or political reasons.
The Chinese FC-1/JF-17 has also been previously touted as a possible option for the FAA.

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