A team from the Argentine Air Force is in Denmark reviewing the possibility of purchasing F-16 A/B MLU fighter-bomber jets from that country in the last assessment round before a decision on the matter is made no later than 2023.
In addition to the Danish alternative, the South American country is considering the Chinese-built JF-17 Thunder and India’s Hindustan Aeronautic Limited (HAL) Tejas aircraft.
“I think that by the end of [this] year we will have seen all the offers and analyzed all of them,” Defense Minister Jorge Taiana was quoted as saying. “This is a decision that has to take into account not only the technical aspects and the quality of the aircraft’s weapons systems, but also issues related to financing, delivery times… these are political decisions to be taken at the highest level by the President of the Republic,” he added.
An Argentine mission is in Denmark to advance in the possibility of acquiring fighter jets and helicopters to modernize the Air Force fleet. This was told to TN by Air Force sources.
The Argentine Air Force’s Director of Plans, Programs, and Budget Brigadier Diego García told TN that the delegation is made up of a team of specialists and technicians who traveled to the European country “to evaluate the proposed aircraft” in the operation.
“The technical teams and specialists are in the process of analyzing and evaluating the proposals from China, India, and Denmark,” he also said. Regarding the F-16 A/B MLU aircraft, the operation entails a combined proposal from Copenhagen and Washington, it was also reported.
Also playing a key role in the final choice will be a possible British veto. After the Falklands War, London imposed restrictions on Argentina to purchase armaments that include components manufactured in the United Kingdom and these measures are still in force, despite the Argentine Air Force’s pleas for them to be lifted.
According to TN citing Foreign Office sources, any specific issue concerning the Danish aircraft will be up to Copenhagen. “Any potential sale is a matter for the Danish authorities,” TN’s Foreign Office sources stated.
However, the same sources insisted that “if a country were to buy equipment containing components from the UK that subsequently need to be replaced, the companies/exporters in the UK would have to obtain the corresponding licenses.”
Britain’s Foreign Trade “will not issue any export licenses wherever to do so would be inconsistent with our licensing criteria or government policy,” TN also reported.
“All those weapons systems that have components of British origin and that by their nature provide capabilities to the Argentine Air Force are subject to the British veto,” García explained to TN. He also admitted Argentina was still considering the Chinese-Pakistani JF-17 Thunder Block III and the Indian HAL-built Tejas, but both fighter jets have British components.
“The Argentine Air Force is participating with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the process of incorporating the Swedish RBS-70NG short-range anti-aircraft defense system,” in addition to the home-built INVAP radars, García explained.
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