The Argentinian Ministry of Defense has denied making a fighter jet selection for its Air Force.
Media reports over the last few days suggested that the Pakistani - Chinese JF-17 Block lll has been selected beating off contenders from Russia, South Korea and Sweden among others. Reports claimed that the country was buying 12 JF-17s (10 single-seater Block IIIs and 2 dual-seat Block IIIs) and that the Government of Argentina officially included $664 million in funding for the purchase of the aircraft.
The MoD clarified in a statement Tuesday, "The Ministry of Defense has requested the inclusion for the 2022 Budget of the authorization to manage credit for up to $664 million for the acquisition of multipurpose fighter aircraft, for the surveillance and control of the air space. Likewise, this ministry clarifies that it has not been issued regarding the purchase of supersonic aircraft of any origin and is in the technical-economic and financial evaluation stage of five alternatives."
The South American country has long been planning to buy 12 fighters. It had to pick between Pakistani-Chinese JF-17s, South Korean TA-50 and Swedish Gripen. Argentina has also officially sent a request for information (RFI) to Russia to buy Su-35s. The RFI seeks details on financing, rates and terms for the respective equipment and systems offered. The Russian plane is arguably among the best 4.5 generation jets in the market and leaves the JF-17 far behind in terms of speed, maneuverability and weapons carrying ability.
The United Kingdom has earlier vetoed the sale of TA-50s to Argentina citing an arms embargo imposed on Argentina after the 1982 Falklands war. The TA-50 contains several British-made component including the Martin-Baker ejection seats and landing gear made by Safran U.K. The JF-17’s PK16LE ejection seat is also manufactured by British company Martin-Baker.