Argentina in talks with India on Tejas fighter possible deal
The long process of selecting supersonic fighters for the Argentine Air Force continues, adding chapters with the holding of new meetings between the authorities of the institution and representatives of India.
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The latest news in this regard was the confirmation of an official meeting between FAA Chief Brigadier General Xavier Isaac, along with the Ambassador of the Republic of India, and representatives of the HAL company, manufacturer of the LCA Tejas fighter jet.
According to what was officially announced, both by the Indian Embassy in Argentina and reproduced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited [HAL], the meeting took place yesterday, June 5, between a delegation from the Asian country and the Chief of the Argentine Air Force, Brigadier General Xavier Isaac.
Although no further details were provided, the Indian embassy said the purpose of the meeting was to deepen cooperation and the possibility of association with a view to the inclusion of supersonic fighters.
More precisely, from the LCA Tejas manufactured and marketed by HAL, as well as to explore options in the helicopter segment produced by the Indian company. The latter was preceded by the recent signing in February of a contract to supply components for SA-315B Lama helicopters operated by the Argentine Air Force.
However, although the Indian government and HAL are betting and promoting the LCA Tejas as a better option than the two main proposals being considered by the United States and China, the fighter presents difficulties that need to be overcome. This is due to the significant presence of components manufactured in the UK or manufactured under license, which are subject to the UK Government’s export veto to Argentina.
Given these difficulties, the Indian government and HAL have publicly expressed to the Asian country’s media their willingness to go ahead with the replacement of the said components in case Argentina decides to purchase the LCA Tejas.
As may be the case with the aircraft fairing manufactured by the Cobham firm, cite an example. However, this could delay future induction, as progress on a domestic production or third-party replacement would require new tests, which would delay the aircraft’s induction to the Argentine Air Force.
As for the conduct of the recent meeting, it follows the line established by the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Argentina to provide equal opportunities to each of the bidders to present and improve their proposals for combat aircraft for the Air Force.
However, sources said the future choice of supersonic fighter-bomber is between the F-16 proposal being approached by the United States and the FC-1 [JF-17 Thunder] of the People’s Republic of China.
Even though HAL Tejas appears to have been sidelined in official consideration, meetings between Argentina and India will be able to progress in other segments to deepen defense cooperation at an industrial level with opportunities for technology transfer and local production.
Demonstrating the growing momentum that the Indian defense industry has been gaining in recent years. Yesterday, the meetings between representatives of the Indian company continued, and they also met with the Commander-in-Chief of the Argentine Army, Lieutenant General Guillermo Olegario Pereda.
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