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Denmark to sell 24 F-16 fighter jets to Argentina

The Danish Minister of Defense, Troels Lund Poulsen, has arrived in Buenos Aires to meet with his Argentine counterpart, Minister of Defense Luis Alfonso Petri, and sign a letter of intent relating to the possible sale of Danish F-16 fighter jets. 

According to a statement from the Danish Ministry of Defense released on March 26, 2024, the decision to sell the fighters to Argentina was made in close collaboration with the Biden administration, which approved the sale of the US-produced aircraft. 

“I have had an extremely fruitful meeting with my Argentine colleague, who has expressed great satisfaction in becoming a member of the family of F-16 nations across the globe. The deal has been negotiated in collaboration with the United States,” said the Danish Minister of Defense. 

On June 26, 2023, Poulsen announced that the aging fleet of 33 F-16A/B Block 20 MLU (Mid-Life Update) belonging to the Flyvevåbnet (the Royal Danish Air Force) would be retired from service earlier than expected. The previous plan was to keep them operational until 2027 with an investment of €150 million, but they will now be withdrawn from service as early as 2024 or 2025. 

Denmark is replacing its F-16 fleet with new F-35 jets. The country is donating 19 F-16 aircraft to Ukraine as part of this process. The government has now decided to sell 24 Danish F-16 jets to Argentina. 

Argentina’s long quest for fighter jets 

The Argentine Air Force has struggled to renew its aging fighter fleet for some time. The most humiliating sign of urgency dates back to Barack Obama’s visit on March 24, 2016. On that occasion, the United States had to use four of its own F-16s to escort Air Force One, as Argentina did not possess any aircraft quick enough to do so. 

Throughout the years, several prospects were initiated, but all eventually faltered.  

In January 2018, during a visit by then-Argentinian President Macri to France, it was announced that five retired Dassault-Breguet Super Etendard Modernisés aircraft, previously used by the French Navy, were sold for €12 million. 

However, due to the arms embargo imposed on Argentina by the United Kingdom since the Falklands War in 1982, the aircraft were delivered without their MK6 ejection seat made by the British group Martin Baker. Finally, in 2023, the Argentinian authorities decided to give up on trying to circumvent British sanctions

Other alternatives have been considered, including acquiring previously owned Sukhoi Su-24s from Russia or Chinese-Pakistani JF-17 Thunders, but none have come to fruition. 

Though Lockheed Martin chose the Martin Baker US18E ejection seat for the F-16 Block 70/72 aircraft in 2020, the legacy ACES II ejection seat found on older versions, such as the Danish F-16s, is designed and manufactured in the United States. 

The post Denmark to sell 24 F-16 fighter jets to Argentina appeared first on AeroTime.

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