Argentina’s air force is having a hard time maintaining its core Nesher/”Finger” fighters, even as the Kirchner regime seeks to take control of the Falkland Islands and their potential offshore oil reserves. That led Argentina to search for new fighter options, as the most reliable way of projecting power to likely exploration zones. Britain’s defenses are also much more run down than they were in the 1980s, and their complete lack of a carrier force leaves ongoing protection of the islands’ surrounding economic zones to just 2-4 Eurofighter Typhoon fighters, an offshore patrol vessel, and part of a regular navy ship rotation.
A very interesting look at Argentina’s efforts to update its fighter fleet. Right now, the most capable airframe it has is the A-4AR Fightinghawk, remanufactured late model A-4 Skyhawks, with a good radar and avionics. As capable as the A-4AR is, it’s not an air to air platform. The older Nesher fighters, bought surplus from Israel, are outdated, have poor avionics, and even poorer weapons.
And there are any number of countries that would love to sell capable fighters to Argentina. Money is, after all, money.
But Britain, even with its defense budget in tatters, still has considerable economic influence. And of all the decent fighters available, most have at least one major component that ultimately is supplied by the USA. And the US maintains an option to restrict the “end user” of any US made components.
For instance, the article mentions a possible sale of surplus Israeli Kfir fighters to Argentina. But the Kfir is powered by the US J79 engine.* The US would have to approve any such sale.
The Obama administration has a nasty tendency to slight Britain, and support the foes of our allies, so there is no guarantee that the US would stop any Kfir sale. But its almost certain that the next administration would, or at least demand sufficient concessions from Argentina to placate the reasonable British fears of heightened tensions.
*actually built under license in Israel, but the end user restrictions still apply.