Argentina turned down the offering of a former ROK navy Ulsan class frigate

Upon ever increasing relations between both nations, South Korea offered an Ulsan class frigate to the Argentine Navy. After serious consideration, Argentina turned it down, as published by the newspaper Ambito. Some of the official reasons state the complexity in the maintenance of such a propulsion system, which is not in use in the Argentine Navy, and the high costs of bringing the ship from across the world. The Argentine Fleet uses Rolls Royce engines with a high standard of availability and reliability and no serious incidents for over 40 years. While the General Electric LM2500 of the Ulsan class can be maintained by several private companies in Argentina, it is not in the Navy’s interest to acquire them yet.

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.

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.

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.

Guatemala becomes the first export customer of the IA-63 Pampa

Within the next 48 hours, the Defense ministers of Argentina and Guatemala will be signing the purchase of two IA-63 Pampa Serie III jet trainers. This two seat, single engine, advanced jet trainer provides a NVG compliant MIL SPEC full glass cockpit with a nav/attack suite. Is the third generation of the IA-63 Pampa trainer, designed at the late 1970 by a joint venture between FMA and Dornier. This is to become the first export for the IA-63 Pampa and the first of FAdeA (then FMA or Fabrica Militar de Aviones) in over 25 years. Argentine Ministry of Defense has reported also ongoing talks with Bolivia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Paraguay.

New ties and business opportunities for the Mercosur and South Korea

In this month of July, representatives of the Mercosur member countries and its south Korean counterparties will meet in the capital of Uruguay, Montevideo, for the third time to sign an agreement and pave the way towards a Free Trade Treaty. How can this affect the Argentine and South Korean defense ties? Argentina had very defense related trade with South Korea, some even remember the purchase of tank ammunition for the Army, but there are many development opportunities other than the case of the Lead in Fighter Trainers KAI FA-50 as has been discussed over the past week, in some cases actual possibilities, in other, not so much. South Korea has a very advanced and capable defense industry, in many cases developed indigenously as other with high level cooperation with France, Israel, Russia and the U.S.  With products that range from infantry gear, armored vehicles, tanks, aircraft, missiles, ships, submarines and torpedoes as many other cases. For example, Argentina and South Korea share a number of components and weapons on board of their vessels that could also benefit from cooperation between navies as well for some support and modernization possibilities.

KAI’s FA-50 closes the deal in Argentina or not?

The argentine newspaper Ambito, expressed what was first published by LATAMilitary, regarding a possible agreement for the purchase of Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) FA-50 Lead In Fighter Trainers (LIFT) for the Argentine Air Force within the context of the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. The Air Force and KAI are very committed toward signing the agreement but within the Ministry of Defense, some voices have expressed their caution and asked to hear an offer as well by the second-best candidate: Leonardo’s M-346 FA Fighter Attack. It is very wise to have and compare options, but is that the case or is it another agenda behind waiting for them? The Air Force selected the FA-50 based on a very thorough analysis and the possibility of take flight in the aircraft, which was not possible for the M-346FA since still is in prototype phase and yet lacks many of the actual features offered to their potential customer. Other than actual technical limitations, concerns were expressed on the dependence this would have on the engine supplier, Honeywell, which is also the supplier for the TFE-731 engines in the Pampa III.

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.

Guatemala wants to buy two FAdeA’s IA-63 Pampa

According to sources both in the Fabrica Argentina de Aviones (FAdeA) and the argentine government, the Guatemala Air Force is finishing up the details to buy two new IA-63 Pampa Serie III from Argentina. Several talks and high-level visits took place in the last two years for the agreement to come, according to the website Full Aviacion, the Guatemalan government set up an advance payment of 8 million USD and will cancel what’s due upon delivery of the aircraft, which is set for late 2019. No details are yet available on spares, support and training. These IA-63 will be replacing A-37 Dragonfly light attack / trainers, received from the U.S. in the 1970s. This comes as the first export client of the IA-63 Pampa and the first export aircraft of FAdeA in almost 30 years.

Argentina looks for PT6 engine parts in the U.S.

Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 parts and spares are being looked for EMB-312 Tucano and T-34C-1 training aircraft. These are extensively used both for school and for pilots to maintain their qualifications. They have received a renewed interest considering intents to upgrade their avionics and the possibility to complement them with surplus U.S. Navy aircraft.