Argentina receives its first upgraded T-6C+ Texan II trainer

The Argentine Air Force has received its first T-6C Texan II upgraded to C+ standard, the E-303 aircraft is one of the first 8 out of a current total of 12 requested aircraft. 4 others are soon to be delivered by Textron to the AAF. This upgrade allows the aircraft to make use of wet/dry hardpoints with fuel drop tanks, bombs, gun pods and rockets. Also specific to the AAF is the replacement of the original Cobham radio set. The remaining 7 original Texan II’s are to be upgraded in Argentina, the 4 other pending aircraft will be delivered as C+ standard.

Argentina still waits for its new Lightweight Multirole Fighter

The Argentine Air Force lost its last supersonic fighters in late 2015 when the Dassault Mirages were taken out of service. These, by then 40+ year old aircraft, some of them veteran of two wars, were pretty much obsolete and had lost much of its logistical support. Air Superiority after that was left to the subsonic A-4M Skyhawk II, extensively upgraded in early 1990s with new avionics, full glass cockpit and a much capable nav/attack suite. Still, the now dubbed A-4AR “Fightinghawks”, lack any actual air superiority capacity but hold a very respected performance within WVR combat envelopes. As many of you can recall, these aircraft were used as part of the, Hollywood immortalized, “Top Gun” U.S. Navy Fighter School.

Argentine Air Force and Army clash for surveillance radar choice and responsibilities for new roles

The argentine armed forces have been taking new roles in surveillance for incursions on the Argentine northborder, both Fernandez de Kirchner and Macri administrations identified thiscritical requirement as a needed repurposing of an outdated and ineffective defense system. This being the leitmotiv of Frontera Norte and Integracion Frontera Norte operations, on military support of security forces on border surveillance with drug trafficking and smuggling in mind, from international crime organizations. For this purpose, many requirements for equipment have been submitted and some of them even fielded already. While being seen as an opportunity to a long delayed re-equipment of the armed forces with new and capable hardware, some turn to rejection of these new duties and the loss of military power itself turned to securitization. New radars for ground based short range surveillance have been required and determined by the Argentine Army from 2015 onward.

Argentina orders 4 Textron T-6C Texan II trainers and hopes for a new batch

Finally, Argentina ordered the
last 4 of its first batch of 12 Textron’s T-6C Texan II. While struggling with
pending FMS payments, internal restructuring within the Ministry of Defense
granted the necessary funds to get the program back in action. Originally intended
as C+ versions, argentine Texan II’s are of C version as a setback during FMS
negotiation and delays for Argentinean payments. Having received 8 of 12 intended
aircraft, once the fleet is complete, spares and utilities will be provided
before converting the C into C+ variant. Among these improvements, Argentine
Air Force (FAA), intends to replace the Cobham communications systems to a new version,
other than issued.