PANAGYURISHTE ($1=1.98 Bulgarian Levs) — Argentina needs new fighters. In this way, the Air Force will modernize its inventory and increase its combat capability in the air. At the moment, the Argentine Air Force is not a “scary force” – it has seven Argentine IA 63 Pampa and 23 obsolete American Douglas A-4 Skyhawk.
- Russia ‘shots’ its most advanced fighter – the MiG-35 Fulcrum-F
- US agreed to provide a life-cycle upgrade to Pakistan’s F-16 Falcons
- Pakistani JF-17A defeated MiG-35 in a passionate ‘Argentine tango’
The 1982 Falkland Islands War between Argentina and Great Britain is at the heart of Argentina’s current dilemma. And in front of Great Britain. London has imposed a total military embargo for the past 40 years. This includes no delivery of weapons systems that have British components.
At the end of the last century, even the USA sympathized with Britain. But Washington withdrew and ended its embargo on Argentina, largely because of the “gauchos”‘ participation in Operation Desert Shield in the early 1990s. A few years later, Argentina will become a ‘Major non-NATO Ally’.
And so today Buenos Aires needs a modern air force. But Great Britain is “hitting the brakes” on Argentina’s ambitions. Opportunities are opening up for other participants, such as the Russian Mikoyan MiG-35 Fulcrum-F fighter jet and the Pakistani-Chinese JF-17 Thunder.
The MiG-35 is the more expensive of the two variants and is therefore supposed to be more combat capable. In truth, the performance of the MuG-35 is really impressive, but “usually” Moscow decided to invest in the development of another type of fighter – the Su-57. BulgarianMilitary.com experts believe that this is the fighter that could change the Russian Air Force in a good direction. Today, however, Russia has only six prototypes and eight serially produced. Even if Argentina decided to buy the MiG-35 project, it would hardly be possible for it to continue to exist.
The JF-17 Thunder is Pakistan’s answer to rearming and improving Pakistan’s air capability. Inexpensive, with very good performance and guaranteed reliable supply of spare parts. Co-developed with China, the JF-17 Thunder could be an attractive possibility, so why not a reality for “Argentine pesos”.
That’s how we get to Great Britain. If London continues to hold on to the embargo on Argentina, one of the two warplanes mentioned above will winter in Latin America. And Argentina will not be the first country. Venezuela and Peru have already done so, and Uruguay and Bolivia are also considering one of two suppliers.
Britain should also look to the Balkans. Turkey is a NATO member, a NATO partner, and a regular participant in NATO training and combat missions. Turkey bought the Russian S-400 air defense system because the US refused to reduce the price of the Patriot offered by Washington. In addition, Turkey suffered very large losses after being deprived of the right to own the F-35.
Argentina shows restraint on Russian and Chinese weapons systems. But if Great Britain does not compromise, the “gauchos” will look for these two countries. Last but not least, SOUTHCOM’s new commander, General Laura J. Richardson. has repeatedly stated that the US should market the F-16 aggressively around the world.
That is why the F-16 is the possible third entrant that could turn out to be a winner. It depends on Britain and the pressure that Washington will put on London. Finding Chinese and Russian influence in Latin America could prove to be Britain’s trump card against the US in the future.
Even looking at the aircraft themselves, as options rather than politics, the F-16 is the better choice for Britain. The Royal Air Force is very well aware of the combat capabilities of this fighter, but let’s face it – and they have no idea [neither do we] about the combat capabilities of the Pakistani JF-17 Thunder. Including future updates and advances in technology.
Great Britain will be the one to “buy” Argentina’s fighter. The decision of politicians in London will open the door to a well-known Western technology, or an Eastern unknown one. Perhaps British politicians, or some of them, will see that “Conservatism for the sake of the past” can play a bad joke in the future, not at the regional level, but at the international level.
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