Wave Goodbye to the Argentine Air Force
South American air arm retires Mirage fighters
After decades of decline, the Argentine air force — once one of the most powerful air arms in South America — has finally given up. In August 2015, the Fuerza Aérea Argentina retired its 16 Mirage supersonic fighters, fewer than 10 of which were actually in flyable condition at the time.
That leaves the FAA with just subsonic jet fighters — 25 A-4s and 18 IA-63s. Buenos Aires has made noise about buying new Gripens from the United Kingdom and Sweden via Brazil, JF-17s from China and Kfirs from Israel, but the U.K. vetoed the Gripen idea and the JF-17s proved too expensive to modify to Western standards. No word on whether the Kfir deal will go through. But even if it does, bear in mind — the Kfir is just a modified Mirage and isn’t exactly new.
Long story short, the Argentine air force is just about kaput, with little chance of coming back any time soon. Jane’s reports that the FAA is even reducing its working hours, among other cutbacks:
A recently published daily agenda indicates that the service’s working hours have been significantly reduced, from 0800 to 1300; rationing of food, energy consumption and office supplies has been directed headquarters staff and property residents; and only the minimum personnel required to staff headquarters, directorates and commands are working.
These orders, issued on 11 August, take effect 18 August. A next step will cut Monday and Tuesday as working days. Moreover, air force officials said any aircraft taken out of service will not undergo maintenance for now.