India has extended an offer of its Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) TEJAS to Argentina, while competing with the Ex-Danish F-16A/B fighter jets
Argentina’s pursuit of bolstering its air combat capabilities with Ex-Danish F-16A/B fighter jets has encountered several challenges, notably in the realm of acquiring advanced Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missiles (BVRAAMs). While the U.S. Congress has greenlit the sale of these fighter aircraft to Argentina, doubts linger regarding the provision of the latest AMRAAM series of BVRAAMs. This hesitation stems from concerns over the aging F-16 platforms and potential objections from the United Kingdom.
The Ex-Danish F-16A/B fighter jets, particularly the Block 15/20 MLU variants, offer a battle-proven platform with a long history of service, instilling confidence in their reliability. These aircraft are capable of being armed with AIM-120C5 BVRAAMs, providing a commendable interception range. Moreover, their familiarity in international air forces may facilitate maintenance and spare parts acquisition. However, there are concerns regarding the aging airframes, which may necessitate extensive upgrades, raising questions about the long-term sustainability of the platform. Additionally, potential geopolitical challenges, such as objections from the United Kingdom, could further complicate the acquisition process.
TEJAS: India’s Offering
On the other hand, India has extended an offer of its indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Tejas, to Argentina. The TEJAS represents a technologically advanced option developed domestically. It boasts the capability to operate both Python-5 and Derby missiles, aligning perfectly with Argentina’s preferences. Furthermore, considering the challenges posed by British-supplied components in the TEJAS, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is actively exploring options to replace them with non-British alternatives.
This includes offering a locally developed Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar and replacing the British in-flight refuelling system. However, it’s worth noting that replacing the British-supplied ejection seats with Russian alternatives presents a complex challenge, potentially requiring expensive redesign of the aircraft’s cabin. Ultimately, the choice between the Ex-Danish F-16A/B fighter jets and the TEJAS hinges on Argentina’s strategic priorities, operational requirements, and geopolitical considerations, as each option offers its own set of advantages and challenges.
The decision between the Ex-Danish F-16A/B fighter jets and the TEJAS hinges not only on technical feasibility but also on Argentina’s strategic priorities, geopolitical considerations, and long-term operational efficiency. Argentina faces a choice between a proven but aging platform and a technologically advanced indigenous option, each with its own set of advantages and challenges.