The insignia indicate that these aircraft will be part of Fighter Group 6

Argentina buys 24 F-16s and we can now see how they will be armed and decorated

After many years, finally the 24 old A-4AR Fightinghawk of the Argentine Air Force now have a replacement: the F-16.

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This Tuesday, the Minister of Defense of Argentina, Luis Petri, has signed the purchase of 24 F-16 combat aircraft. Prior to this signing, on March 26, Petri had signed a letter of intent for this acquisition in Copenhagen. "Today we are completing the most important military aeronautical acquisition since 1983. These are 24 F-16 aircraft that have been modernized and equipped with the best technology, and which today are at the level of the best aircraft that fly in the skies of the South American region and the world," declared Petri.

The Minister of Defense of Argentina added: "With these new aircraft we are taking a transcendental step in our defense policy, recovering the supersonic capacity of our aviation and achieving the definitive entry of our Air Force to the technological challenges of the 21st century." Petri also pointed out that with the acquisition of these aircraft "I can proudly say that we begin to recover our air sovereignty and that our entire society It is better protected against all those threats that put us to the test."

On October 11, 2023, the United States Department of State announced that it had approved the transfer F-16 from Denmark to Argentina, but the purchase has been delayed due to the presidential elections in the South American country and the change in the presidency. Let us remember that the previous Argentine president, the leftist Alberto Fernández, had considered the purchase of Chinese JF-17 Thunder fighters, a decision that would have confirmed Argentina's departure from the West and its approach to the geopolitical sphere of China and Russia.

The arrival of Javier Milei to power has confirmed a turnaround in Argentina and a rapprochement with NATO. A few days ago, the current president of Argentina confirmed his desire for his country to be a "global partner" of NATO, which opens the doors for Argentina to receive equipment, logistics and training through part of allied countries, overcoming the obstacles created 42 years ago by the Falklands War.

For the Armed Forces of that country, the purchase of these aircraft is great news. The F-16 was the Argentine Air Force's favorite fighter to replace its Lockheed Martin A-4AR Fightinghawk, not only because of the characteristics of this model - it is an excellent fighter well proven in combat situations. combat-, but also for the advantages of the equipment offered and for maintaining links with the West. After all, the A-4AR Fightinghawk are of American origin, and the latest supersonic fighters of the Argentine Air Force, the Mirage III and Mirage V, were of French origin.

According to what some media have reported, the 24 fighters acquired, of the Block 15 variant, are 16 single-seat F-16A MLU and 8 two-seat F-16B MLU. In addition, Argentina will receive another plane, of the Block 10 variant, for the training of pilots on the ground, in addition to four flight simulators, eight engines and AIM-9X Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles and AIM-120D AMRAAM medium range.

At the signing of the purchase of these fighters, held in a hangar at the Skrydstrup Air Base, two aircraft were seen: an F-16 with the Danish cockade and another with the Argentine cockade . The latter had the Argentine colors painted in high visibility and the Danish numeral ET-199. We can see this plane here with its original Danish cockades in a photo taken by Przemyslaw "Blueshade" Idzkiewicz in 2005 in Radom, Poland:

As a curiosity, the Argentine Minister of Defense wore a pilot's uniform. Here we see him in the flight suit, the anti-G suit and a pilot's helmet. The image is new. In Europe it is not common to see these things.

Petri boarded an F-16B with a Danish cockade, occupying the co-pilot seat.

Here we see him waving from inside the cockpit of the F-16B.

This plane carried the Argentine cockade and the Argentine flag in the same position in which the Danish F-16s carry their national symbols.

Here we can see another photo of this plane published by Juan Battaleme, Secretary of Affairs International Defense of Argentina.

This aircraft carries the Have Glass V decoration scheme, implemented on the Danish F-16 in 2020. On the starboard support of the fuselage the aircraft carries an AN/AAQ-28 target designator (V) Litening. The first underwing support carries a 370-gallon (1,564-liter) Sargent Fletcher external fuel tank. Next to it we can see a GBU-31 JDAM guided bomb. On the outer underwing support, painted in red, we see an AMD (Acceleration Monitoring Device) pod, with an appearance similar to that of an AIM-9 Sidewinder missile without the front fins. It serves to increase the aircraft's radar signature during training.

In this photo we see that on the port wing this F-16B carries AMD pod and four GBU-39 SDB glide bombs, as well as another 370-gallon Sargent Fletcher tank. On the marginal support of the wing it carries an AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missile.

It is not very clear if the appearance of the plane seen today in the hangar is going to be the definitive one of the Argentine F-16. It is possibly a Danish demonstration plane. This afternoon, the Argentine Air Force has published these two photos.

What we see are two single-seat F-16As with a low visibility scheme, preserving the Danish Have Glass V decoration in gray. As we see, the cockades on the wings and the Argentine flag of the drift are painted in light gray. These planes have different numbers than the Danish ones: the M-1009 (above these lines) and the M-1018 (below), and an eagle's head painted on the drift, which was the insignia worn by the Mirage IIIEA and IIIDA of the 6th Fighter Group, based in the Tandil Air Garrison, until its withdrawal from service in 2015. This indicates which unit these F-16s would be destined for.

ARA202 has also published this other photo of an F-16B, the M- 1003. I don't know if these are real photos or retouched photos, but if it is the latter case, I have not been able to find the original photos. The planes look very good, although personally, with how beautiful the colors of the Argentine flag are, I think the emblems would be much better in high visibility.


Photos: Ministerio de Defensa de Argentina / Fuerza Aérea Argentina / Forsvarsministeriet.

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