The FA-50 is not enough for the Argentine AF

Once again, Argentine mass media takes notice on the proposed purchase of Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) FA-50 Golden Eagle for the Argentine Air Force. We did cover this fact recently and in short, Clarin published already known information but with stating a supposed green light by the President Mauricio Macri to go on and submit this agreement. Such negotiations allegedly are for first squadron of 8 to 10 aircraft and their logistical support and training for the next two years. Financial restraints would prevent the AF to also include advanced weaponry to which will turn to its own arsenal of AIM-9L/M and free fall bombs for the time being. 

Many criticisms come from the fact that no FA-50 in service is capable of using Air to Air Beyond Visual Range (BVR) weaponry and still with no air to air refueling capacity or large capacity conformal fuel tanks (CFT), which would leave the aircraft with internal fuel only and on a very limited combat radius. This is only offered by KAI as a possible development on request. 

The FA-50 is no match in the class of neighboring F-16’s and Gripens but will bring sustainable scalability and capabilities in which the aging and progressively obsolete A-4Ar Fightinghawks don’t make the cut anymore.

The argentine IA-63 Pampa won’t be sold to Bolivia, here’s why.

Yesterday, the newspaper Clarin published an article stating that any possible sales prospect of the IA-63 Pampa advanced jet trainers is under pressure by Israel and the U.S. considering Bolivia’s direct links with Iran.The fact is that Bolivia and Iran have just signed an agreement to provide “nanotechnology” for a military academy and Drones for counter-drug and smuggling operations. Although the actual drone which is to be purchased has not yet been disclosed, this is causing serious concerns on Bolivia’s neighbors and sets as the first Iranian drone export in Latin America. Israel and the U.S. are very annoyed by the fact considering their high-level lobbying and Mike Pompeo’s presence in the region to bolster anti-terrorist cooperation and the recognition of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization by Latin-American nations. Argentina and Bolivia have a very important gas trade and to this fact, Gustavo Lopetegui, the argentine Secretary for Energy, proposed that on any compensation required from the argentine state to the bolivian state, it could be paid by the export of IA-63 Pampa advanced jet trainers. This has been seen at first as an opportunity to provide new customers for the Fabrica Argentina de Aviones (FAdeA), but such a salesmanship collided with the fact that it was not thorough in considering that the IA-63 Pampa has components made in Israel, U.K and U.S. which are subject to export approvals.

Tamandare class corvettes purchase contract heats up in Brazil

A few days ago, the Correio Braziliense published that the contract that the Brazilian Navy and EMGEPRON, subscribed with Aguas Azuis, a joint venture by EMBRAER and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS), to build the Tamandare class corvettes is under the investigation of the Tribunal de Contas da União, Brazilian state accountability office. Pernambuco state shipbuilders, as in their metalworker’s union, protested the agreement with the TCU. This is to build four Tamandare class corvettes (CCT) with deliveries between 2024 and 2028 for 5.500 million Reales, approximately 1.4 billion U.S. dollars. This union claims that the contract chose an unqualified company to build them. Supporting also the need of scrutiny under current corruption allegations worldwide for both EMBRAER and TKMS.

The selection of the Oceania Shipyard would be a direct conflict of interest to the fact that BNDES, who is funding the entire project, has a 20% share on the CBO Group, owner of Oceania.

There’s no better timing for the argentine Airbus C-295s than now

The Argentine Air Force is on the verge of decommissioning the last of its Fokker F-28 transports as recently happened with the F-27. Thus, the argentine military has no medium transport aircraft other than the C-130 operated by the AF, since the navy operated F-28s and the Army’s G-222A have been long scrapped. A tender was proposed in 2015/2016 in which both Leonardo’s C-27J and Airbus C-295 were competing and the cost-effective Spanish built transport took the lead. Unfortunately, the financial situation combined with lack of political interest delayed indefinitely this process of which at the time was disclosed the possibility also to include MPA/SAR variants and as AEW platform. Still, only Chile operates the Persuader MPA version and there’s no customers for AEW yet.

Colombian Kfir fleet is only at 50% availability and the AF looks for replacements

According to Infodefensa, the Colombian Air Force’s Air Combat Command has issued on July 5th a report on the current status of the IAI Kfir COA fleet, comprised now of 3 twin seaters and 19 single seater aircraft, which are supported by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Lahav Division. Among specifics in which of the aircraft are in service or not, the main concern is related to depot maintenance or budget cuts in which the Air Force is under that causes delays on pending field level maintenance, since they acknowledge that IAI is in full compliance of their 128-00-A-COFAC-CAF-2018. Having demonstrated its new systems and capabilities in a fair transition to the 4th generation, colombian Kfirs fall short on providing a fully-fledged deterrence against, although in desperate need of an upgrade, Venezuelan Su-30MK2. The Venezuelan Sukhois, probably with russian assistance, are being brought back to service. A few days ago, the F-Air Colombia expo took place where aviation and defense related industries have gathered and to that effect, Airbus, Lockheed Martin and Saab have presented their proposals for Eurofighter Typhoon Tranche III, F-16V Block 70 and JAS-39NG respectively.

KAI and argentine aerospace manufacturers push for a piece of the LMF pie

Much has been published recently regarding the probable argentine purchase of korean Lead In Fighter Trainers, KAI FA-50. South Korean state media, Maeli, quoting statements by both Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and South Korean government sources that push for this deal to come through. Patience is running out. Supposedly, requests of a counteroffer by the Leonardo consortium and their M-346 FA aircraft have not come through or have been considered inadequate. 8 FA-50 aircraft with 2 of them free of charge, including a Flight Simulator, spares, technical support and training for under 400 million dollars.

The time has come for INVAP to develop an AEW&C aircraft?

An Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft is a long overdue necessity for the Argentine Air Force. Policy trends towards an increasing interest both in air policing and indigenous developments. As of now, the AAF only has one ELINT/SIGINT platform, the Learjet 35 VR-24 with a Thales Vigile 200 suite as the only Electronic Warfare or long-range information gathering platform, but completely unsuitable for control, surveillance or even search and rescue operations support. Since 2006, an important effort has been in place to establish a national integrated surveillance system or SINVICA. As a product of that, Investigacion Aplicada or INVAP, one of the most capable state enterprises in Argentina has developed a set of primary and secondary AESA radars.

Argentine Navy prepares to receive ARA Bouchard and scraps part of its fleet.

The Navy’s CiC Admiral Jose Luis Villan and the Chief Naval Attache in Europe, Captain Marcelo Angel Valverde have visited Naval Group’s facilities while L’Adroit is being refitted for argentine service as published by Gaceta Marinera. They have been briefed on current status for works being done on L’Adroit to enhance ship’s resistance for antartic deployment and other mission equipment replacements. Vessels 2 and 3 are already being built in Piriou and Kership Lorient respectively. Four OPV’s in total are to be delivered until 2023. Villan upon its arrival in France, visited Bormes Les Mimosas, place of birth of the argentine naval hero, Hipolito Bouchard.

Guatemala halts purchase of IA-63 Pampa jet aircraft

Recent statements have put a halt on Guatemalan Air Force purchase of FAdeA’s IA-63 Pampa III jet trainers. The agreement, signed by both argentine and guatemalan presidents on July 3rd, 2019, has been contested by the guatemalan national controllership. The fact is that both governments made use of an update of an existing agreement to provide the legal framework in order to perform the operation. This would directly counter legislation on bids and purchases for the guatemalan state. With particular interest in next month’s general election ballotage, this did not go unattended.

Argentina still struggles to define a long-term defense policy

Paola DiChiaro, Defense Ministry’s Secretary for Military Affairs and Strategy made a briefing on current challenges and development for defense policy in Argentina. These statements provide a broad and concrete snapshot of its status and also what the armed forces are investing in. It has been interpreted by this administration that over 36 years after the last military dictatorship, the trend has started to shift from a negative view of the armed forces. Unfortunately, this outdated agenda was also pushed by officials of the Kirchner administration in previous years, so a recovery took longer and was more difficult than the actual society’s thoughts on it. This set up a priority on reconstructing credibility and a weakened bureaucracy in all Defense levels.