The FA-50s would help the air force to begin rebuilding. The navy meanwhile has begun its own rearmament program. Five ex-French navy Super Etendard fighters in May 2019 arrived at the port of Bahia Blanca in Argentina.
South Korea’s Deadly FA-50 Fighter Is Headed to Argentina
The Argentine air force has selected South Korea’s FA-50 as its next fighter, Jane’s reported on July 21, 2019.
The decision is good news for a once-proud air arm that, in recent years, has precipitously declined in size and effectiveness.
Argentine officials as early as 2016 had asked to evaluate the twin-seat, supersonic FA-50, Jane’s reported.
A source told Jane’s said he expected the government to sign off on the procurement "in the near future." “Argentina has national presidential elections at the end of October, and the source noted that these may slightly prolong the timeline, but that he still expects the deal to go through,” Jane’s added.
The air force could acquire as many as 10 FA-50s, according to Argentine media. The 12-ton fighter retails for around $30 million per copy, tens of millions of dollars less than a new F-16 or similar, heavier fighter.
The Argentine air force badly needs new warplanes. British forces in 1982 shot down around a third of Argentina’s 400 warplanes, but in subsequent decades funding woes and mismanagement exacted an even greater toll.
By late 2015 the Argentine air force and navy together could muster fewer than 250 warplanes including a few Vietnam War-vintage, subsonic A-4s and equally aged, but supersonic, French-made Mirages. Even the planes that could fly lacked modern systems.