Argentina signs letter of intent to buy 24 F-16 fighter jets from Denmark

Argentina signs letter of intent to buy 24 F-16 fighter jets from Denmark

By Dario Leone
Mar 27 2024
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Argentina signs letter of intent on the possible sale of 24 Danish F-16 fighter jets

On Mar. 26, 2024 in Buenos Aires, Danish Minister of Defence, Troels Lund Poulsen, met his Argentine counterpart, Minister of Defence Luis Alfonso Petri, and signed a letter of intent on the possible sale of Danish F-16 fighter jets.

“I have had an extremely fruitful meeting with my Argentine colleague who has expressed great satisfaction on becoming member of the family of F-16 nations across the globe. The deal has been negotiated in collaboration with the United States”, says Danish Minister of Defence, Troels Lund Poulsen, in a Danish Ministry of Defence news release.

The decision to sell the Danish jets to Argentina has been carried out in close collaboration with the American government, who has approved the sale of the US produced aircrafts.

Argentina signs letter of intent to buy 24 F-16 fighter jets from Denmark
Danish Minister of Defence Troels Lund Poulsen and Argentina’s Minister of Defence, Luis Alfonso Petri.

Danish Defence in the process of replacing its F-16 fleet with new F-35 jets

“Danish Defence is in the process of replacing its F-16 fleet with new F-35 jets. Denmark is donating 19 F-16 jets to Ukraine, and the government has decided to sell 24 Danish F-16 jets to Argentina. I am therefore very pleased that my Argentine colleague and I today in Buenos Aires have signed a letter of intent on the possible sale”, says Danish Minister of Defence, Troels Lund Poulsen.

According to Alert 5, the letter of intent signifies a key milestone, but the process isn’t complete. Denmark has already donated 19 F-16s to Ukraine, and the remaining 24 are slated for Argentina. Both parties will convene again to solidify a final sales contract, which will be signed in Denmark. Danish authorities ensured transparency throughout the process, keeping their Parliament’s Foreign Policy Committee, Defense Committee, and Defense Agreement Group informed about the potential sale.

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Argentine Air Force searching for a new supersonic fighter aircraft since 2015

The Argentinian defense ministry allocated US$664 million to acquire 12 new fighter jets in September 2021. With the UK putting an arms embargo in place against Argentina, the choices for it have been reduced to Russian-built MiG-29 and MiG-35, China-Pakistan-built JF-17, and Indian-made LCA Tejas.
Because Argentina signed the letter of intent to purchase 24 F-16s from Denmark, all these options are now ruled out.

As already reported, the Argentine Air Force (FAA) has been searching for a new supersonic fighter aircraft since when the Dassault Mirage III interceptor fleet was retired in 2015. Its current operational inventory includes at least 10 A-4 fighter bombers flanked by armed IA-63 Pampa jet trainers.

The UK has been the biggest hurdle: in the last years in fact Argentina tried to purchase JAS-39 Gripen fighters from Sweden and KAI FA-50 Fighting Eagle jets from South Korea but since these aircraft use British equipment such as ejection seats built by Martin Baker, the UK blocked both the options.

According to Janes, other potential solutions that have been reported included surplus Spanish Mirage F1s and Tranche 1 Eurofighter Typhoons, Leonardo M-346FA/FTs, CAC J-10s, and Aero L-159s. Even the Sukhoi Su-24 ‘Fencer’ (although this is widely believed to have been a hoax) and the new Sukhoi Checkmate were touted.

Photo credit: Danish Ministry of Defence and Slaunger Own Work via Wikipedia

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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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