“Do not buy Pakistani JF-17” – Argentina rejects media reports on acquisition of fighter jets

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Argentina’s defense ministry released a statement rejecting media reports that the country had decided to purchase a dozen Sino-Pakistani-made JF-17 fighter jets.

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The JF-17 is a multirole fighter jet, which was jointly developed by the Chinese company Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) as well as the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC). The aircraft was developed to meet the requirements of the Pakistan Air Force.

It has been widely reported by news portals that the Argentine government has requested a budget allocation of $ 664 million for the purchase of a dozen JF-17 Block III fighter jets in Pakistan. The JF-17 Block III is the latest version of this type with new electronic scanning radar as well as advanced electronics.

An Islamabad-based think tank, the Pakistan Strategic Forum (PSF), previously issued a statement saying that “the government of the Argentine Republic has officially included funding for the purchase of 12 PAC JF-17 A Block III fighters in a draft budget for 2022 presented to the Argentine Parliament.

The funding requests $ 664 million for the purchase of 12 JF-17s in Pakistan. The Argentine Air Force chose the Pakistani JF-17 Thunder, rejecting offers from Russia, the United States and India ”.

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Pakistan’s Consulate General in Jeddah also tweeted: “Argentina has officially earmarked $ 664 million in its budget next year for the purchase of 12 JF-17 Block-III fighter jets in Pakistan.”

File: PAK Kamra JF-17 Thunder at the Paris Airshow, June 2019 – Wikimedia Commons

Denying all these assertions, Argentina’s Defense Ministry issued a statement on September 21 saying: “The Defense Ministry informs that, by means of an authorization note for public credit operations, it has requested the inclusion of the authorization to manage a credit of up to $ 664 million. for the acquisition of multipurpose combat aircraft for airspace surveillance and control in the 2022 budget ”.

“Likewise, the ministry specifies that it has not taken a decision to purchase supersonic aircraft of any origin and that it is at the stage of the technical, economic and financial evaluation of five alternatives” , he added.

However, the statement did not specify which plane was chosen by Argentina for its fighter jet quest.

Argentina’s quest for a new fighter plane

Since the withdrawal of the Dassault Mirage III interceptor fleet in 2015, the Fuerza Aérea Argentina (FAA) or the Argentine Air Force has been looking for a new supersonic aircraft.

However, the UK appears to be the biggest obstacle. Argentina’s recent attempts to acquire JAS Gripen jets from Sweden and KAI FA-50 Fighting Eagle jets from South Korea have also been blocked by the UK as they use UK equipment including ejection seats built by Martin Baker .

JF-17
The JF-17 (FC-1) Thunder.

China has reportedly offered the FC-1 (Chinese designation for the PAF JF-17) fighter jet to Argentina. However, the complication of acquiring the JF-17s is that the fighter jet also has its ejection seats built by Martin Baker and an embargo can be put on its sale by the UK.

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The same may be true of the Indian fighter jet HAL Tejas, which is also under consideration for the fighter jet program. However, the involvement of British-made parts in the aircraft knocked it out of the procurement race.

Russia has also launched its MiG-35 to Argentina in recent years. Israel is said to have offered an improved version of its Kfir fighter to the South American nation.


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