Argentina's Air Power Dilemma: F-16s, Tejas, and a Difficult Decision

Argentina's Air Power Dilemma: F-16s, Tejas, and a Difficult Decision


The Argentine government finds itself caught in a complex web of financial constraints and geopolitical pressures as it seeks to bolster its aging Air Force (FAA).

Decades of underinvestment and the lingering consequences of the Falklands/Malvinas War have severely limited Argentina's options in its urgent pursuit of modern fighter jets.

A Legacy of Limitations​

The forced retirement of the Mirage III fleet in 2015 marked a significant turning point for the FAA, leaving the dependable but outdated A-4AR Fightinghawk as its primary air defence asset.

While promises of military revitalization are made by successive administrations, the reality of Argentina's economic woes casts a long shadow on any ambitious plans.

The most notable obstacle Argentina faces is the British arms embargo, restricting the sale of UK-manufactured military equipment or equipment containing British parts.

This effectively shuts down many procurement avenues, such as the thwarted acquisition of South Korea's KAI FA-50 light fighter. Even India's proposal for the HAL Tejas fighter jet hit a snag due to British components within the aircraft.

The F-16 Option and Fiscal Realities​

The United States has presented a compelling offer: 38 F-16 fighters, formerly in service with Denmark, complete with logistical support and a weapons package.

This proposal seems to tick many boxes for Argentina's needs. However, the $338 million price tag poses a significant hurdle within the current economic climate. Argentina's struggle to find the necessary funds has stalled the decision-making process.

India's Tejas: A Potential Solution?​

India's offer to replace British components in the LCA-Tejas and support local manufacturing provides an alternative route for Argentina. This option's success rests heavily on Argentina overcoming its financial restrictions and demonstrating a clear commitment to procurement.

For India, the long wait for Argentina's decision impacts the export potential of its LCA-Tejas Mk1A fighter jets.

The Long Haul​

Argentina's fighter jet dilemma is a symptom of deeper economic and strategic issues the country faces.

Until fiscal stability is restored and a coherent long-term defence strategy is formulated, options like the F-16 or the LCA-Tejas will likely remain out of reach.

The future of the Argentine Air Force hangs in the balance, with international suppliers like India awaiting a definitive sign from Buenos Aires.
 
Look for another markets depending on one nation is not wise Once Tejas MK1A delivery pick ups and Another 97 order Follows may it will come into Lime Light.
 
0 chance of argentina buying Tejas. It is a bankrupt country and its recently elected leader is very close to america, and it needs IMF bailouts. He recently made decision to not join BRICS as well. India should focus on closer ties with brazil, as its leader is not close to america and is more non-alligned. Maybe a barter deal of C390 millenium and atags/pinaka or other indian products.
 
If Argentina really is being offered 38 older second-hand F-16s for just 338 million dollars, they should jump at the chance. Best case scenario is 6 or 7 new Tejas for that price. With 38 airframes, the FAA could rebuild their entire fighter force, or put a number of them into reserve, thereby negating (in part) the problem of limited lifespan. Moreover, with time, they would also have the avenues to upgrade these aircraft somewhat, perhaps to Block 50/52 standard in a few years.
 
0 chance of argentina buying Tejas. It is a bankrupt country and its recently elected leader is very close to america, and it needs IMF bailouts. He recently made decision to not join BRICS as well. India should focus on closer ties with brazil, as its leader is not close to america and is more non-alligned. Maybe a barter deal of C390 millenium and atags/pinaka or other indian products.
argentina is a good partner, recently PSU MIDHANI did a MoU regarding mining of rare earth minerals. But given their situation we can't expect them to buy 38 Tejas which would cost approx 2 billion, There could be option of barter system as was in case of Malaysian deal.
 
argentina is a good partner, recently PSU MIDHANI did a MoU regarding mining of rare earth minerals. But given their situation we can't expect them to buy 38 Tejas which would cost approx 2 billion, There could be option of barter system as was in case of Malaysian deal.
argentina is very rich in mineral deposits, and it needs money, which India has. So MoU for minerals makes sense. Bartering minerals for fighter jets seems to be a big stretch lol.
 
0 chance of argentina buying Tejas. It is a bankrupt country and its recently elected leader is very close to america, and it needs IMF bailouts. He recently made decision to not join BRICS as well. India should focus on closer ties with brazil, as its leader is not close to america and is more non-alligned. Maybe a barter deal of C390 millenium and atags/pinaka or other indian products.
Absolutely, they will only buy Western fighter jets. also they don’t have to stand in the crossroads, instead of dreaming HAL should better focus on delivering all the Tejas to IAF on time as promised, once IAF starts using them and these jets prove, orders will follow in abundant, there are 99% of Countries in the World who can’t afford expensive 4th gen jets like Rafale, those Countries will buy if offered loan with reasonable interest once our product is proven.
 
Absolutely, they will only buy Western fighter jets. also they don’t have to stand in the crossroads, instead of dreaming HAL should better focus on delivering all the Tejas to IAF on time as promised, once IAF starts using them and these jets prove, orders will follow in abundant, there are 99% of Countries in the World who can’t afford expensive 4th gen jets like Rafale, those Countries will buy if offered loan with reasonable interest once our product is proven.
yeah, maybe a balakot like incident happens in 2-3 years and our tejas jets take down a few pakistani f-16 or jf-17, then export customers would line up.
 
yeah, maybe a balakot like incident happens in 2-3 years and our tejas jets take down a few pakistani f-16 or jf-17, then export customers would line up.
I don’t think IAF will even use Tejas MK1/MK1A in those kind of scenarios, they will use these jets specifically for patrolling the skies for the same role as Bisons, Tejas Mk2 if made before 2035 has a good chance though.
 
Since US is competing with us for this deal and we have US engines. It won't be easy to get the deal. F404 engines for Argentina may be delayed, some other tricks ...... . Time to expedite Kaveri, may not be now but at least in the next decade we will have an option.
 
I don’t think IAF will even use Tejas MK1/MK1A in those kind of scenarios, they will use these jets specifically for patrolling the skies for the same role as Bisons, Tejas Mk2 if made before 2035 has a good chance though.
I know that, and that is why I referred to tejas shooting down enemy aircraft. Tejas is mainly meant as an interceptor (air to air combat) aircraft. Jaguars, migs and sukhois are much more suitable for ground attack missions
 
If Argentina really is being offered 38 older second-hand F-16s for just 338 million dollars, they should jump at the chance. Best case scenario is 6 or 7 new Tejas for that price. With 38 airframes, the FAA could rebuild their entire fighter force, or put a number of them into reserve, thereby negating (in part) the problem of limited lifespan. Moreover, with time, they would also have the avenues to upgrade these aircraft somewhat, perhaps to Block 50/52 standard in a few years.
These F16s are very old. That is why the offer is so cheap. I dont think they can be upgraded. Just as pakistani F16 can only undergo lifespan extension but cant be upgraded.
 
Argentina is bankrupt why still insisting them to buy, sell it instead in African nations who got dough of monies💵
 
These F16s are very old. That is why the offer is so cheap. I dont think they can be upgraded. Just as pakistani F16 can only undergo lifespan extension but cant be upgraded.
Even so, this is an excellent deal. The Argentine Air Force does not keep a very high operational tempo, so assuming the Argentines maintain the aircraft well and they are able to negotiate for some modern weapons, these aircraft will serve them well for the next 20-25 years.
 
Even so, this is an excellent deal. The Argentine Air Force does not keep a very high operational tempo, so assuming the Argentines maintain the aircraft well and they are able to negotiate for some modern weapons, these aircraft will serve them well for the next 20-25 years.
I believe that another reason the cost is so low is that these require very heavy refurbishment, whose cost will be extra. Maybe they have not gone for that deal yet because the argentine air force really does not want to go for them, but they may not have much choice if president puts his foot down.
 
If there is war between india and Pakistan then you would see Tejas facing F 16 and JF 17 against Tejas and then it would be very easy for Argentina to make decision.
 
Sirji, I like your thoughts, but it contains a big 'maybe';
well, it is a favourable hypothetical scenario. Why do he have 70 billion dollar defence budget? 'maybe' pakistan or china invades, then we need a military to deal with it.
 
India should keep trying to advertise and sell Tejas to them and keep reiterating the significant advantage it has compared to others. Many light jets don't have the high payload carrying capacity or a small and nimble fighter with a large use of composites which makes it even harder to detect by many radars and if they used radar absorbing paint then it will increase its stealth characteristics.

India can replace all of those British made components easily enough but the main attraction is that it's not a Chinese junk fighter jet which most are grounded because of the major problems, inferior technology, poor quality and unreliability by not doing what they claim it can do. Another main benefit is that we use a reliable, long lasting and fuel efficient USA F404 engine whereas the junk fighter uses the Chinese junk engine which has major problems, poor parts, faults, long servicing and lower flight time compared to what a GE engine can give.
 

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