Argentine Pilots Still Got It
But the country's air power is collapsing
A video depicts P-3B Orion “6-P-53” — from the Argentine navy’s Escuadra Aeronaval N° 6 — performing an impressive low pass over Ushuaia Malvinas Argentinas International Airport, located near the city of Ushuaia on the island of Tierra del Fuego in Tierra del Fuego province of Argentina.
Interestingly, the name of the airport — which opened in 1995 — reflects Argentina’s claim of sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, a.k.a. the Malvinas.
The low pass is striking proof of the enduring flying skills of Argentine pilots. But it belies profound problems in the country’s air arms.
Anyway, Argentine pilots are famous for their low-level flying. They conducted ultra-low-altitude attacks on British warships during the 1982 Falklands War. More recently, we’ve seen daredevil flybys by Argentine air force IA-63 Pampas, Mirage 5Ps and C-130 Hercules.
But for all its pilots’ derring-do in low-level air displays, Argentine air power is still rapidly collapsing. The Argentine air force retired its last supersonic Mirage fighters without replacement in late 2015. The navy is trying to buy old Super Etendard attack planes from France in order to bolster its own depleted force.