The government of Argentina is seeking to buy F-16 combat jets – possibly from the United States — and surprisingly, missiles from Israel, according to a report Thursday by Israel’s Channel 12 News, quoting Defense News.
Fighter aircraft are being considered from the American Lockheed Martin defense firm as well as from other countries.
A senior Argentine officer was quoted as saying his government made the request about a month ago.
The report said Argentina has asked for Israeli-made combat systems to be integrated into the fighter jets, including a missile manufactured by the Israeli defense company Rafael.
Diplomatic relations between Israel and Argentia have existed since May 31, 1949.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is also launching a new campaign in Buenos Aires to promote the option of buying refurbished, upgraded Kfir jets, Defense News reported.
According to the report, Argentina’s government told the country’s lawmakers it intends to invest some $684 million to obtain the new fighter jets, and an additional $20 million for the new, related infrastructure.
The aircraft sought by Argentina was described as “a multirole fighter jet fitted with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, an in-flight refueling system compatible with the tanker aircraft currently in the inventory of the Argentine Air Force, a tactical data link and an electronic warfare defensive suite,” Defense News reported.
The information came from the chief of the Cabinet of Ministers – Juan Manzur – and the office of Defense Minister Jorge Taiana and was provided last week in response to questions from the country’s Defense Committee within the Deputies Chamber.
Legal requirements mandate that no British-made or -designed system, subsystem or component may exist in the purchased aircraft, per a ban that has limited or prohibited supply to Argentina of spare parts and material for military hardware, since the Falklands War in 1982.