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Argentina Finally Acquires 24 Used F-16 Fighter Jets. Kowtowing to US Pressure?

Washington is believed to have exerted various pressures on the Argentine government to opt for the used F-16 jets and not to choose the JF-17 jets offered by China, which come with other  attractives  economic packages.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — Latin American nation Argentina has inked a deal to purchase 24 used F-16 fighter jets from Denmark, thereby thwarting the aspirations of China and India, who had each attempted to sell their JF-17 “Thunder” and Tejas fighter jets to Lionel Messi’s home country.

The agreement for the sale of Denmark’s used F-16 aircraft received the green light from the United States, the manufacturer of the fighter jets, thereby enabling the realization of the sales contract.

Washington is believed to have exerted various pressures on the Argentine government to opt for the used F-16 jets and not to choose the JF-17 jets offered by China, which come with other  attractives  economic packages.

The United States is concerned that if Argentina had opted for the JF-17 fighter jets, it would have provided Beijing with a foothold in Latin America to further expand its influence on a continent located close to the United States.

Argentine Defense Minister Luis Petri and his Danish counterpart, Troels Lund Poulsen, signed a letter of intent regarding the sale of the F-16 jets in Buenos Aires on March 26.

“Denmark has contributed 19 F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, and the government has decided to sell 24 F-16s to Argentina.”


“The sale of Denmark’s F-16 fighter jets was carried out with close cooperation from the United States government, which approved the sale,” said the Danish Ministry of Defense in a statement issued recently.

Argentina is believed to have to pay US$320 million (RM1.5 billion) to acquire Denmark’s pre-owned F-16 fighter jets.

Taking the place of the F-16s, the Danish Air Force will utilize fifth-generation fighter jets, the F-35.

The United States reportedly escalated pressure on Argentina to reject offers for the sale of JF-17 fighter jets made by China/Pakistan and Tejas LCA by India, instead opting for Denmark’s used F-16A/B jets for its air force.

The primary reason for Washington’s increased pressure on Buenos Aires to choose the F-16s is to ensure that Argentina does not select the JF-17 Block 3 fighter jets developed by China/Pakistan and the Tejas LCA by India.

The United States believes that if Argentina were to choose the JF-17 fighter jets, it would provide an opportunity for Beijing to establish a presence in the country, before expanding its political and military influence throughout the entire South American region.

JF-17 “Thunder”


The administration of President Joe Biden does not want to see Beijing expand its influence in South American countries, which is why it acted to pressure Argentina into purchasing the pre-owned F-16 jets previously used by Denmark.

To ensure this outcome, Washington offered a total of 24 used F-16A/B fighter jets from Denmark to Argentina, even though technically it is clear that the JF-17 Block 3 fighter jets equipped with AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar and various modern component are far more capable than the early variants of American F-16s.

Argentina is currently seeking new fighter jets to replace the Mirage fighter jets that were retired by its air force in 2015.

At present, the Argentine Air Force is equipped with at least 10 A-4 Skyhawk fighter jets and IA-63 Pampa training aircraft.

Previously, Buenos Aires had intended to purchase FA-50 fighter jets from South Korea, but this proposal could not proceed due to arms restrictions imposed by the United Kingdom on Argentina following the Falklands War.

Although the FA-50 jets are made in South Korea, they contain many components and equipment from British companies, leading to them being subject to arms restrictions by the United Kingdom and unable to be sold to Argentina.



The arms restrictions imposed by the United Kingdom led Argentina to consider fighter jets produced by China, Pakistan, and India, as well as the MiG-35 developed by Russia, as alternatives to fighter jets with components from United Kingdom companies.

Although the F-16 fighter jets also use components and equipment produced by British companies, the United States has provided assurances that the United Kingdom has agreed to waive these arms restrictions to allow Argentina to purchase them.

All of this is solely to prevent Buenos Aires from choosing China and Pakistan-made JF-17 fighter jets. — DSA