A sanction on Argentina by the United Kingdom over Falkland war means means that the Argentine Air Force’s next-generation fighter aircraft introduction project has completely failed to acquire an western-origin fighter aircraft.
The Argentine Air Force received bad news on October 28, 2020. Due to British opposition, Korea Aerospace Industries officially announced to Argentina that it could not obtain an export license to sell FA-50 fighter jets to Argentina. This means that the Argentine Air Force’s next-generation fighter aircraft introduction project has completely failed, and it is necessary to find a fighter aircraft that is not restricted by the West as soon as possible.
The Argentine Air Force has retired the A4 Skyhawk attack aircraft. The Argentine Air Force is currently only equipped with propeller fighters, which have almost no combat effectiveness.
In 2019, Argentina officially announced the introduction of South Korean FA-50 fighters. As the next-generation fighters of the Argentine Air Force, FA-50 is an improved model of T-50 trainer aircraft equipped with a more complete fire control system and has all-weather combat capabilities. However, although FA-50 is claimed to be developed by South Korea itself, the source of parts is very complicated.
The engine uses the American F404 turbofan engine, the radar uses the Israeli EL/M-2032, the ejection seat and some avionics systems. The weapon system provided by the United Kingdom comes from other NATO countries. Although the use of mature parts and components from other countries has greatly reduced the research and development costs of FA-50, it also means that the export of FA-50 is restricted by these countries. If these countries Opposing, South Korea cannot export FA-50.
Because of the Falklands issue, the relationship between Britain and Argentina has been relatively tense. Under the lead of the United Kingdom, the West began to jointly block Argentina and not allow advanced weapons to be exported to Argentina. Although South Korea hopes to export the FA-50 to Argentina, the premise is that all the British equipment of the FA-50 is removed. Korea Aerospace Corporation obviously does not have this capability, and the United States also opposes the sale of F404 engines to Argentina. In the end, South Korea has no choice but to Cancel this precious export order.
The J-10 multirole fighter jet is the best choice for Argentina’s air force if it buys combat aircraft from China as earlier reports have suggested, according to aviation experts.
Western news organizations have reported that Argentina is expected to buy a number of fighter jets from China, and the two nations have set up a working group to discuss related issues.
The South American nation is reported to be interested in the J-10 and FC-1, both single-engined, lightweight multirole fighter jets developed by the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group, a subsidiary of the State-owned Aviation Industry Corp of China.
When the Argentine Air Force was choosing the next fighters, it was interested in the Xiaolong fighter and the J0. At the time, Augustine Rose, the Minister of Defense of Argentina, set up a working group to study the purchase of two-seater Xiaolong or J-10 fighters. It even hoped to introduce production lines to produce these fighters by Argentina. However, later due to differences in the installation of Western avionics equipment, the Argentine Air Force finally gave up the introduction of Xiaolong or J-10.
And in this situation, Argentina has no choice but to buy Xiaolong or J-10 fighters. The biggest advantage of these two fighters is the extremely high localization rate. All equipment can be provided by one country. Worried about being restricted by other countries. Moreover, the price of the Xiaolong fighter is much lower than that of the FA-50. The multi-purpose Xiaolong can perform air combat, bombing, electronic jamming, reconnaissance and other tasks. Although the maneuverability of the two-seater J-10S is slightly reduced, its bomb load and flight speed are stronger than those of Xiaolong or FA-50. It is a more professional fighter, and its air combat performance is second to none in South America.
In addition, the J-10 fighter can also carry the YJ-91 supersonic anti-ship/anti-radar missile. This missile has a speed of Mach 3 and a 100 kg warhead. A single YJ-91 can severely damage a destroyer.
According to Defense Industry Daily, an online trade publication, Argentina is interested in the FC-1, a joint effort by China and Pakistan that is being used by the Pakistan air force, because it can carry Chinese-made C-802 subsonic and CM-400AKG supersonic anti-ship missiles.
However, Xu Yongling, a military aviation expert, said the FC-1 cannot compete with the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets stationed by Britain on the Falkland Islands, which will make its introduction a waste of money for Argentina, reported China daily.
Although the Xiaolong offered to Argentina may not be equipped with the PL-10s, it could carry a wide range of advanced missiles, such as those used by the J-10C, so while $ 50 million is relatively more expensive, it is definitely worth it. Worth the price according to publications in China.
In the past year, China has delivered military vehicles and pontoon bridges to Ecuador, fulfilled a military helicopter deal with Bolivia, and signed contracts for training aircraft and amphibious combat vehicles with Venezuela, according to CGTN reports.
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