Despite selecting refurbished Kfirs from
ARGENTINA REPORTEDLY HALTS (ON-AND-OFF) IAI KFIR BLOCK-60 TALKS
It is not known why Argentina had walked away from negotiations. News reports
The Argentinian Air Force is currently undergoing a recapitalization program involving the acquisition of new aircraft, among them trainers and helicopters.
In April, Argentina
However, the pursuit of a next-generation combat aircraft platform to replace the Argentinian Air Force’s Lockheed Martin A-4ARs has been a perennial challenge. Buenos Aires had
Argentina had even
Since then, Argentina has been pursuing the IAI Kfir Block-60. The marquee feature of the Kfir Block-60 is that is that is available with the Elta EL/M-2052 active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar.
Notes & Comments:
While matters fell through the previous time, Argentina may remain as one of AVIC and PAC’s standard-bearer markets for the JF-17. Simply put, it would be a gateway to the Latin American market, which is in the process of region-wide defence modernization and acquisition efforts.
The JF-17 program has seen substantive progress since Argentina had expressed interest in the platform. With more than 70 aircraft in service with
Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG) and PAC are also progressing with the
It is possible that the PAF’s own JF-17 Block-III could align (at least nearer than the Block-I/II) to Argentina’s preferred (Western oriented) configuration. Granted, avionics inputs would have to come from Western vendors that are comfortable with the JF-17, such as Aselsan and Indra. This limits Argentina’s options.
A non-Chinese radar will be a challenge. The issue with a third-party radar (e.g. Leonardo Vixen 1000E) is sourcing medium-range air-to-air missiles (MRAAM) and anti-ship missiles (AShM) from non-Chinese sources. MBDA would necessitate British approval (an obstacle for Argentina), while plausible alternates – e.g. Turkey’s Bozdogan MRAAM and Atmaca AShM – are in the development stage.
If technical aspects are addressed, financing may not be insurmountable. For example, PAC can offer the Argentinian Air Force low-rate or incremental purchasing options (e.g. as was offered to Nigeria). Most of PAC’s production line will support PAF requirements, it is not export-dependent.
I have very low expectation of JF-17 for Argentina, although JF-17 may be a better option than refurbished kfir.
JF-17 is better because everything of it is new. It has very high Performance/Price ratio because of the full set of Chinese Radar, avionics and weapon suite. All the works (time and money) of integration and testing have been done(paid) by PAC and CAC.
Buying the airframe and engine then replace and integrate radar, avionics and weapon suite from multiple western vendors will greatly increase the cost regardless who does that job. Therefor diminishing the P/P ratio, the point that Argentina is looking for. Considering the limitation and potential pressure from UK to the various vendors, the price of doing it will be even higher than usual (hypothetically JF-17 + Indra to Brazil).
If Argentinians insist on their preference for western systems, I don't see them having any choice other than no air-force at all. This sounds too harsh, but reality is harsh, everything costs.