With Argentina looking to modernize its armed forces, Danish F-16s and Norwegian P-3s might soon be on their way to South America.
After years of attempts, Argentina might finally be able to acquire western aircraft to modernize its armed forces. On Oct.11, 2023, the U.S. Department of State approved the transfer of second-hand F-16s from Denmark to Argentina and paved the way also for a similar transfer of P-3s from Norway.
Argentina already tried in the past to acquire new aircraft to replace its obsolete A-4R Fightinghawk, however the sales always met the veto from the United Kingdom as most western aircraft use British components, such as the Martin Baker ejection seats. This situation existed since the end of the Falklands War, however the transfer of the F-16s does not require the approval from the UK.
US authorities did not provide numbers, however Argentinian media outlets report that the sale would involve 24 Vipers (as the F-16 is nicknamed by the pilots) that will replace the A-4Rs on a one-to-one basis. The A-4R is the only fighter jet in service, after the retirement of the Mirage III in 2016. The F-16 now faces the competition of the JF-17, which was already being considered by the government.
Today @StateDeptPM’s Mira Resnick 🇺🇸 delivered a letter to @JorArguello approving the transfer of F-16 aircraft from Denmark 🇩🇰 to 🇦🇷Argentina. The transfer reaffirms our close defense ties and steadfast support for Argentina’s air force modernization efforts. pic.twitter.com/ia4D92An40
— Political-Military Affairs, US Dept of State (@StateDeptPM) October 11, 2023
Denmark is also transferring 19 of their 43 F-16s to Ukraine, so the sale of the remaining 24 aircraft to Argentina would leave the country without the problem of dealing with the retired F-16 fleet once the F-35 is fully operational and takes over the Viper’s roles. According to newspaper La Nacion, the package will include training, equipment, AIM-120 and AIM-9 missiles and a $40 million fund to help with the acquisition.
A source within the US government told FlightGlobal that the transfer of four P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft is also being authorized, after Argentina reached an agreement with Norway for the acquisition of the retired P-3s. The deal, worth $67 million, includes three P-3C aircraft fitted for maritime surveillance, anti-submarine and anti-surface missions, and one P-3N designed for search and rescue operations, according to a news release from the Argentine Defence Ministry.
The ”new” Orions, which could arrive in Argentina this month, will bolster the Navy’s surveillance squadron which operated the older P-3B which is facing problems and delays with the refurbishment program. The P-3C, although only few years younger, was upgraded with the integration of AN/USQ-78B acoustic processor technology refresh, AN/ASQ-227 aircraft mission computers and tactical mobile acoustic support systems