Russia is set to lease Argentina up to a dozen long-range, supersonic strike aircraft in exchange for supplies of wheat and beef. This would be a coup for Argentina, because UK influence has scuppered previous plans to upgrade its aerial attack capabilities. IHS Jane’s reports:
For some years now, Argentina has been trying to replace its antiquated and increasingly unserviceable Dassault Mirage IIIEA, IAI Dagger, and McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk fighter fleets with a newer and more capable type.
Reported procurements of surplus Spanish Mirage F1s, Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) Kfirs, Chengdu Aircraft Corporation FC-1/JF-17, and Saab Gripen E/Fs all appear to have stalled for either economic or political reasons (the proposed buy of the Gripen E/F was effectively vetoed by the UK, which manufactures many of the aircraft’s systems).
What makes the Su-24 report so alarming for the UK government is that the proposed lease from Russia would not likely be affected by either economic or political reasons, and so is much more likely to progress.
There’s only one conceivable target on which Argentina would want to mount a supersonic, long-range attack, and that’s the Falkland Islands. UK military capability has been dwindling there (as well as everywhere), and London won’t be ready to field its next-generation aircraft carriers in the south Atlantic until at least 2020.
Another sign of world peace in 2015.