Tag Archives: Argentine Air Force

Argentina desperately seeking Mirage

Cash-low Argentina is so desperately seeking new fighter jets, that it is looking to put budget priced French fighter jets from the 1970s back in the air.

The defence minister of the Latin-American nation recently paid a visit to France, trying to have Paris agree to an affordable price tag for 12 Dassault-made fighter jets retired by the French Air Force (Armée de l’Air). Buenos Aires is looking for six Mirage F1s plus six Mirage 2000s, or a dozen of either one of the types. A 2013 deal with Spain seems to have hit the sand barrier somewhere.

FAM IA 58 Pucará

To Argentina’s main conservative daily newspaper, La Nacion, Mr. Julio Martinez also said he is hoping that France would like to provide new engines so that the Argentine Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Argentina) is able to bring 20 IA 58 Pucará ground attack and counter-insurgency aircraft back into the sky. Fábrica Militar de Aviones (FAM) produced 110 of these two-engine propeller aircraft between 1976 and 1986, with the type still operational in both Argentine and Uruguay.

An Argentinian made  Fábrica Militar de Aviones (FMA) IA 58 Pucará, here in service with the Uruguayan Air Force (Image © Ralph Blok)
An Argentinian made Fábrica Militar de Aviones (FMA) IA 58 Pucará, here in service with the Uruguayan Air Force (Image © Ralph Blok)

F-16

Despite its known good operational status and relatively low cost for flight hours and maintenance, Buenos Aires is said not to seek purchase of the US-made Lockheed Martin F-16 that is flown – among others – by neighbouring Chile. An official reason for not buying the F-16 other that “not in the interest of the nation” has not been given. For some time even a wild story circulated that frustrated policy makers in the Argentinian capital were looking for a Russian bomber solution.

A former IAF Skyhawk, now working for a civil contractor. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A-4s similar to this former Israeli example were grounded in Argentina in January 2016 (Image © Elmer van Hest)

A-4 Fightinghawk

The Fuerza Aérea Argentina has currently no fighter jets on strenght, after the 22 remaining McDonnell Douglas A-4AR Fightinghawks and three (O)A-4ARs were grounded at Villa Reynolds Airbase in January 2016 because of the lack of spare parts and other airworthiness issues. Earlier the service decommissioned its Dassault Mirage III and IAI Fingers / AMD M5 Dagger units at Tandil Airbase. That leaves the nation with only 32 IA 58 Pucarás on frontline duty, of which many are down for maintenance.

An AT-63 Pampa II (Image © Fábrica Argentina de Aviones)
An AT-63 Pampa II (Image © Fábrica Argentina de Aviones)

Pampa

The about two dozen FMA IA 63 Pampas (35 ordered) are not suited for combat, and the 14 remaining Embraer EMB-312 Tucanos can only be used for limited ground support and counter-insurgency operations.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com senior contributor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): Retired French Air Force Mirage F1s might be put to new use in Argentine skies (Image © Marcel Burger)

Sunset for classic Mirage in Argentina

The Fuerza Aerea Argentina has waved good bye to its small fleet of classic Dassault Mirage 3 and 5 fighter jets on Sunday 29 November during an airshow and ceremony at Tandil airbase, south Buenos Aires . The Mirage served the country for 43 years. It’s retirement leaves only the A-4 Skyhawk as a credible airborne capability.

Argentina, along with Pakistan, was the last country in the world operating the Mirage 3, a type that amazingly saw its first flight on 17 November 1956 and was once operated in large number by air forces around the world. Pakistan is still flying the type. In Swizterland, a civilian operated Mirage 3 still graces the skoes.

Argentina poised its Mirage into combat during the 1982 Falklands War, when one of them feel victim to a British Harrier firing a Sidewinder air-to-air missile. Over the last years, the fleet was reduced to just six aircraft. They flew their last operational sorties last September during an exercise.

Replacement

Argentina has been seeking a true replacement for the Mirage, eyeing the Saab Gripen, Chinese J-10 and most recently the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Kfir block 60. No signature has been inked though, as the UK opposed a Saab-deal and financial difficulties in Novermber prevented the Kfir-deal from being signed.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

Argentina to buy Bell quartet

The Argentinian government is purchasing four Bell 412EP helicopters for air mobility duties, the US State Department announced on 17 November 2015.

Buenos Aires pays 80 million US dollars for the choppers, which will also be fielded for humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping duties if needed.

Produced in Forth Worth, Texas, the Bell 412EPs are successors to the legendary “Huey”. That chopper was the primary ride of US forces during the War in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s. The Argentine Air Force already operates a pair of Bell 412EPs, while the army has 47 older UH-1 Hueys on strength.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: The Bell 412EPI (Image © Bell Helicopter)

Argentine Herc upgrade slowly progressing

The upgrade of five Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport and tanker aircraft of the Argentine Air Force is slowly progressing with L-3 Communications in the United States. Rockwell Collins announced this week it has been contracted for flight avionics by L-3.

“Argentine Air Force pilots will experience greater situational awareness and communications capabilities with the new avionics onboard these aircraft,” says Troy Brunk, vice president and general manager of Airborne Solutions for Rockwell Collins. The Rockwell Collins Flight2 avionics system will provide the Fuerza Aérea Argentina C-130/KC-130 aircraft with new communications, naviagion, surveillance and air traffic management systems required for today’s airspace operations.

Included in the avionics upgrade is a full glass cockpit with new primary flight displays, Required Navigation Performance / Area Navigation flight management system with High Altitude Release Point/Computed Air Release Point precision air drop software. Additional equipment includes an autopilot, communication and SATCOM radios, APN-241 precision ground mapping radar integration, navigation sensors and surveillance systems including Traffic Collision Avoidance System, Terrain Awareness and Warning System and digital map.

The first aircraft integration and installation being performed by L-3 Platform Integration, the prime contractor for this upgrade program, is at its facility in Waco, Texas. The remaining four aircraft will be upgraded at the FAdeA modification facility in Cordoba, Argentina, with L-3 support.

Despite the official US State Department announcement of the upgrade contract in October 2011 speaks of C-130Hs, the Fuerza Aérea Argentina flies a mixture of types, comprising of one KC-130 tanker aircraft and four Hercules dedicated airlifters of the L-100-30, C-130B and C-130H types.

Source: Rockwell Collins, with additional reporting by Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): An Argentine Air Force C-130 on a medevac mission at the Marambio Base in the Antarctics in January 2015 (Image © Fuerza Aérea Argentina)

The first ever landing of an Argentine Hercules, a C-130E, on Marambio Base permafrost in the Antarctics on 11 April  1970. Earlier attempts on four other days in that month were aborted due to bad weather. The aircraft with registration TC-61 was from 1 Air Brigade, flying in from Río Gallegos, transporting military personnel and 3,500 kilograms of food plus mail.  (Image © Fuerza Aérea Argentina)
The first ever landing of an Argentine Hercules, a C-130E back then, on Marambio Base permafrost in the Antarctics on 11 April 1970. Earlier attempts on four other days in that month were aborted due to bad weather. The aircraft with registration TC-61 was from 1 Air Brigade, flying in from Río Gallegos, transporting military personnel and 3,500 kilograms of food plus mail. (Image © Fuerza Aérea Argentina)

Argentine Air Force beefing up lighter fleet

The Argentine Air Force has beefed up its lighter fleet units in 2014. Just before the end of the year the Fuerza Aérea Argentina commissioned 10 Grob G120TP-A light utility and training aircraft. Two new Bell 412s joined VII Brigada Aérea at Mariano Moreno Airport near Buenos Aires on 8 January 2015.

The white painted Bell 412s will be used for search-and-rescue ops and replace the aging Bell 212s of the I Escuadrón Búsqueda y Salvamento (1st Search and Rescue Squadron). The 212s have often been put at the disposal of the United Nations, explaining their overall white livery.

Source: Fuerza Aérea Argentina
Featured image: One of two newly delivered Bell 412s of the Argentine Air Force on 8 January 2015 (Image © Fuerza Aérea Argentina)