TSAMTO, October 13. The United States has officially approved the sale of 24 F-16A/B Block multirole fighters to Argentina.15 "Fighting Falcon" from the presence of the Danish Air Force.
As the Argentine Ambassador to the United States Jorge Arguello said on October 11, Washington will also provide Buenos Aires with a financing package, which will speed up the procurement procedure in the difficult economic situation in the country.
The authorization was automatically accepted after the expiration of the 30-day period during which the US Congress had to submit its objections to the agreement (if any). The Bureau of Military and Political Affairs of the US Department of State confirmed on October 12 that a letter confirming permission for the transfer of F-16 fighter jets was handed over to the Ambassador of Argentina.
At the moment, the details of the agreement, such as the total amount, logistics package and weapons, are still unknown. The delivery dates and training of pilots and mechanics who will make up the technical support group for the aircraft are also unknown.
According to a source close to the negotiation process, although the total number of aircraft approved for transfer is 32 units. (approx. TSAMTO: earlier it was also reported about the possible sale of up to 38 units), if the deal is completed, Argentina will receive 24 F-16A/B version of the Block.15: 16 single F-16A and 8 double F-16B.
According to the newspaper La Nacion, the United States also approved the sale to Argentina of P-3C Orion basic patrol aircraft from the Norwegian Air Force.
Regarding the delivery of the F-16A/B, the newspaper also learned that negotiations are underway on a financial assistance package in the amount of $ 40 million. According to the results of the negotiation process, the delivery package may include air-to-air missiles AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9 Sidewinder.
As previously reported by TSAMTO, the Administration of President Biden in July 2023 appealed to the US Congress with a request to approve the sale to Argentina of F-16 fighters from the presence of the Danish Air Force and BPA P-3 aircraft from the Norwegian Air Force.
Attempts to implement both projects have been made by the Argentine government several times, but have so far encountered financial difficulties, as well as a boycott by the UK.
The cost of the 38 F-16 fighters offered to Argentina (up to six in the F-16 version).10 and up to 32 F-16 Unit.15 from the presence of the Danish Air Force) was estimated at $ 339 million, and four P-3C Orion from the Norwegian Air Force – $ 108 million.
The next steps after the US Congress has given permission will be the elaboration of details, the execution of contracts and the search for funds to pay for the aircraft. It was assumed that the UK would demand Denmark to abandon the deal, but it is obvious that official Washington has convinced London that concerns about the Falkland Islands are not worth "pushing Argentina into the arms of China," which is ready to provide JF-17 Thunder fighters.
Initially, the Argentine government planned to allocate about 684 million dollars for the purchase of new fighters and the creation of appropriate infrastructure. Aircraft with an open architecture should ensure the integration of weapons and other systems of any origin, but there should be no British-made or developed components in the equipment. The UK has been preventing Argentina from purchasing new combat aircraft for a long time, prohibiting the re-export of systems developed by British manufacturers.
At the end of last year, it was reported that the Chinese-Pakistani JF-17/FC-1, the American F-16, the Indian LCA Tejas and the Russian MiG-35 were evaluated as potential applicants.
The American edition of Defense News, citing a number of anonymous sources, reported that the choice of the MiG-35 is unlikely "for political and logistical" reasons, and the Indian Tejas has an in-flight refueling system and radar components developed by the British, as well as ejection seats from Martin-Baker, the replacement of which will be too expensive. The command of the Argentine Air Force preferred the F-16, but the US government imposed strict conditions and restrictions on the sale of aircraft. At some stage, all this pushed the Argentine authorities towards the purchase of a Chinese JF-17 fighter, in the design of which there are no British components.