Argentina plans to buy 12 fighter jets from Pakistan: reports

The draft budget for fiscal year 2022 was presented to the National Congress, which includes a request of US $ 664 million for the acquisition of JF-17 Thunder Block III fighters. 


The draft budget for fiscal year 2022 was presented to the National Congress, which includes a request of US $ 664 million for the acquisition of JF-17 Thunder Block III fighters.

Thus, it is now clear which is the choice of the Argentine Air Force (FAA) for its next supersonic fighter, discarding the offers from Russia, USA and India.

The budget requested would be enough for the purchase of 12 JF-17 Thunder in its latest and most modern standard, taking into account the rumored price of 50 million per unit (which the Government would have tried to lower ). Also, within this U $ S 664 million, 20 million are contemplated for the repair and modernization of the runways and infrastructure that would host the new aircrafts.

So far, this is the clearest sign in favor of the Chinese option, which evidences the Air Force’s firm intention to complete the purchase as soon as possible. However, no one can claim victory yet. Until the contract is signed and the first funds are disbursed, there may still be counter-offers from other countries.

First prototype of the JF-17 Thunder Block III, the one that the Argentine Air Force desires.

And it should also be remembered that in 2015, during Agustín Rossi’s first term as Argentina’s Minister of Defense, a budget of U $ D 360 million had been authorized for the purchase of 14 IAI Kfir, which was then frozen in view of the imminent change of government. And finally, the administration of President Mauricio Macri decided to dismiss the acquisition of the Israeli fighters.

Therefore, the presence of the Thunder in the 2022 budget should be taken only as a purchase intention (a serious and firm indication, that’s for sure), and not as a deal already closed. One cannot underestimate the current economic and political situation in the country, in which the incorporation of modern weapon systems may not be seen as a priority.

Argentina is planning to buy 12 JF-17A Block-III fighter jets from Pakistan, according to reports in the international media. The reports surfaced after the Argen­ti­nian government proposed a $664 million allocation in its budget for the year 2022 presented before the national parliament. Dawn reported.

The proposal for allocation does not mean that the deal has been closed because the sale contract is yet to be signed. However, it does show that JF-17 is being preferred by Argentina over the various options that have been under consideration.

Argentina has been considering this purchase since last year after Britain blocked its previous attempts to procure aircraft from other sources. The UK has been maintaining the embargo on Argen­tina since the Falklands War in 1982.

Buenos Aires has since 2015 tried to purchase fighter jets from Sweden and South Korea, but both sellers backed down because of British pressure.

Argentina had in 2015 tried to acquire Swedish JAS 39 Gripen fighter jets. Later, it remained interested in South Korean FA-50 Fighting Eagle.

The ejector seat in JF-17 jets built by UK has also remained a point of contention in the sale of the aircraft to Argentina.

The other complication in Argentina’s search for fighter jets for its air force has been the shortage of funds for going after costlier options.

Argentinian Air Force was significantly depleted in 2015 when it retired its aging fleet of Dassault Mirage III interceptor aircraft, which till then served as its backbone.

JF-17 Thunder is an advanced, light-weight, all weather, day / night multi-role fighter aircraft, developed as a joint venture between the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), Kamra, and the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation of China.

The PAC says it possesses excellent air-to-air and air-to-surface combat capabilities. The state-of-art avionics, optimally integrated sub-systems, computerised flight controls and capability to employ latest weapons provide decisive advantage to JF-17 over adversaries of same class, it further says.