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Argentina is considering procurement of JF-17 fighter jets: Argentine Embassy in China. Argentine defence minister and ambassador to China discuss


Sep 14, 2017
United Kingdom
China has a huge variety of weapons to select , and this will give Argentina access to them via this Jf-17 deal. Buenos Aires won’t receive it from other manufacturers who will definitely be blocked by U.K. Gov,
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Nov 4, 2011

China-Argentina on verge of region-rattling fighter deal​

Buenos Aires reportedly weighing JF-17 purchase to modernize its laggard air force and send a shot at US

China may be close to clinching a huge weapons sale to Argentina involving fighter jets and armored vehicles, a deal that would give Beijing military clout in a region traditionally seen as America’s sphere of influence.

This week, South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported that Argentina’s Ambassador to China Sabino Vaca Narvaja and Argentinian Defense Minister Jorge Taiana met in Buenos Aires recently to discuss defense cooperation plans with China, which includes the possible purchase of JF-17 fighter jets, 8×8 armored vehicles and military personnel exchanges.

SCMP mentions that the JF-17, which China co-produces with Pakistan, is a potential candidate to fill the Argentine Air Force’s longstanding fighter gap. The Chinese fighter is reportedly competing against India’s HAL Tejas, Russia’s MiG-35 and secondhand Danish F-16s.

The report said that Vaca Narvaja met with representatives from China National Aero-Technology International Engineering Corporation last November to discuss Argentina’s possible JF-17 purchase. Moreover, Chinese and Argentinean representatives discussed possibly co-producing the aircraft.

However, the report states that Argentina will not make any immediate aircraft purchases, with President Alberto Fernandez saying that his country has to allocate its limited resources to more important areas than military aircraft.

Argentina has been struggling to rebuild its military since the 1982 Falklands War, with subsequent US and UK sanctions on arms sales hobbling its modernization.

While SCMP mentions that China’s JF-17 contains a UK-made Martin-Baker ejection seat, it can be replaced with a domestic version and that the real issue is whether Argentina can afford the JF-17.

The Argentine Air Force has been particularly hard hit by sanctions and other factors preventing modernization. Meta-Defense noted in a December 2022 article that while it had 240 combat aircraft during the Falklands War, the collapse of military rule, economic crises and sanctions have left it with only around 20 upgraded A-4AR Fighting Hawks, less than ten Pampa 3 trainer aircraft and no supersonic fighters.

It also says that while Argentina tried to acquire modern fighters such as the Kfir C1, F-16C/D, HAL Tejas and FA-50 in the 2000s and early 2010s, UK components incorporated in the aircraft meant Argentina could not acquire them.

In the case of the Argentine Navy, Global Security notes that it has had a substantial block obsolescence problem since 2020, as most of its ships were acquired from 1975 to 1985 and were envisioned to have a 40-year service life.

The report mentions the Argentine Navy is already small for its long coastline and large exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and has struggled with delayed upgrades for its four German-made MEKO 360 destroyers and six MEKO 360 frigates and expired munitions. Its two remaining submarines, meanwhile, have been inactive since 2020.

Global Security mentions that the Argentine Army still relies on 1970s technology, noting that the lack of modern equipment has become a barrier to military operations and impeded the development of new military tactics.

The report also says that maintenance is limited, with preventive maintenance almost nonexistent, forcing the Argentine Army to resort to cannibalization to maintain its equipment.

Given all that, China may see Argentina’s urgent need to modernize its military as an opportunity to establish a foothold in Latin America, a move that would have significant strategic implications.

Richard Aboulafla notes in a June 2021 article for Foreign Policy that if China can succeed in selling its fighter jets and sophisticated weapons to other countries aside from a small core group consisting of states like Myanmar, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the sale would prove its appeal as an alternative strategic partner from the US and Europe.

Aboulafla also mentions that fighter jet sales often involve a trade relationship or economic sweeteners such as market access or technology transfer to offset the costs of the weapons transfer.

He also says fighter exports reflect the strength of the supplier’s alliances, can lower production costs through economies of scale, provide a captured market for maintenance and spare parts, and allow for harmonized operations and easier communications.

Loro Horta, in a July 2021 article for East Asia Forum, says that China’s push to sell the JF-17 to Argentina might be the former’s breakout to establish itself as a major weapons supplier in a region dominated by the US.

He mentions that China’s proposed fighter sale to Argentina is especially attractive in terms of flexible payment options, China’s willingness to engage in joint production and its openness to technology transfer.

Horta argues that short-term profits are not China’s objective in selling fighter jets to Argentina and that the sale would be driven by long-term political and economic goals. He notes that Argentina is the second-largest country in Latin America, with a sparsely-populated territory rich in natural resources.

He also mentions that China and Argentina have negotiated infrastructure projects worth US$30 billion, with China investing US$15 billion in Argentina’s oil sector. Argentina is already a major food exporter to China, including large shipments of soybeans.

China’s efforts to woo Argentina align with its larger geopolitical strategy in Latin America, writes Diana Roy in an April 2022 article for the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Roy notes that China’s foreign aid, investment and soft power with Latin American states has earned Beijing political goodwill and raised its profile as an alternative strategic partner.

Roy also points out that China’s economic and military outreach to Latin America aims to diplomatically isolate Taiwan, with the region’s diplomatic recognition of the latter declining in recent years.

She mentions that the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua dropped their recognition of Taiwan in 2018 and 2021 after being offered economic and infrastructure incentives. Honduras is poised to follow suit this year.

Roy says that China’s fighter sales pitch to Argentina and more extensive outreach to Latin America has raised US concerns of losing its “positional advantage” in the Western Hemisphere, leading the Biden administration to label China as a “strategic competitor” in the region while accusing it of bolstering authoritarian regimes to legitimize its brand of government.



Sep 24, 2018
United States
United States

Argentina’s fight to prevent its problematic currency from a total meltdown is leaving the Central Bank, by some estimates, broke.

The nation has already spent all of its liquid international reserves, plus another estimated US$1 billion, according to Buenos Aires-based consulting firm 1816 Economía & Estrategia — raising the stakes as the nation contends with a historic drought and impending recession.

Without easy-to-spend cash on hand, questions are swirling about how much longer the government can continue to defend the peso from an all-out collapse. At risk is a currency devaluation that stands to fan 104 percent inflation and exacerbate high levels of social unrest ahead of October’s presidential elections.

“Fewer reserves leads to more pressure on the exchange rate, which in turn leads to more pressure on inflation,” said Fernando Losada, a managing director at Oppenheimer & Co. “I see no possible scenario under which inflation goes below three digits this year.”

Argentina has struggled to build and keep international reserves at healthy levels for decades, running through cash piles to combat rising prices and juggle obligations on overseas bonds.

The nation now technically has less than US$34 billion in total foreign reserves, but the majority is locked up in less-liquid assets — such as gold, credit swap lines with China and the Bank of International Settlements and the dollars Argentines have in their savings accounts.

That’s a problem for a country in need of ready-to-spend cash. Argentina’s liabilities in foreign currency already exceed total reserves by about US$1 billion — the worst such ratio since the nation was wracked by economic crisis in the early 2000s, according to the 1816 firm’s report last week.

Argentina has been flying through its dollar reserves as it tries to stop a slide in the peso’s parallel-market exchange rate, which has replaced the government’s official currency rate amid draconian capital controls. In just the past week, the Central Bank sold about US$470 million to support the currency in parallel markets, said Fernando Marull, an economist at Buenos Aires-based consultancy FMyA.

It’s been difficult to measure the success of the government’s intervention. The unofficial peso lost about 13 percent against the US dollar last month, and is down 33 percent so far this year, by far the biggest decline in key emerging markets.

President Alberto Fernández has, in the past, attempted to beef up reserves by forcing dollars earned from exports to flow into Central Bank accounts and by accepting International Monetary Fund cash injections. But those measures are largely falling flat. And Fernández — who has already withdrawn his candidacy for re-election — has no guarantees that talks to rework a US$44-billion programme with the IMF will result in sped-up loan disbursements to help ease the situation.

A spokesperson for Argentina’s Central Bank said the market’s calculation of net reserves doesn’t properly reflect its balance sheet because it fails to account for other sources of financing, such as a currency swap line with China.

Officials have opted for other emergency measures in the meantime, including tapping the China swap to finance US$1.8 billion of imports from the country. It’s also working with Brazil to boost bilateral trade with credit lines in reais, allowing it to bypass the dollar.

For Argentines, the uncertainty is palpable.

Scarred by the Central Bank’s decision to freeze access to dollar savings during the 2001 economic crisis, many Argentines are already pulling cash from their savings. They yanked over US$1 billion of US dollar deposits from the banking system from late March to the end of April.

There are also few signs that reserves can be rebuilt any time soon. The worst drought of the century has all but removed any possibility of an influx of cash from agricultural exports before the elections.

“The risk of having liquid reserves in negative territory is that the Central Bank may not have the dollars needed to meet an even stronger outflow of foreign-exchange deposits,” said Juan Sola, an economist at BancTrust & Co in Buenos Aires.

@beijingwalker @etylo
- are Argentines paying China in toilet paper ?

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