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Argentina selects Korean FA-50 fighter

21 July 2019
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The FAA has chosen the KAI FA-50 Fighting Eagle twin-seat light attack aircraft as its interim fighter. Source: KAI

The Argentine Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Argentina - FAA) has selected the Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) FA-50 Fighting Eagle to be its new interim fighter aircraft, Jane's has been told.

An informed source said that the supersonic, twin-seat light fighter and attack aircraft has been selected following an evaluation that Jane's first reported in September 2016.

The source said he expects the government to sign off on the planned procurement "in the near future", with deliveries to commence shortly after. Argentina has national presidential elections at the end of October, and the source noted that these may slightly prolong the timeline, but that he still expects the deal to go through.

While Jane's was not told numbers, Argentine national media has reported an anticipated deal for 10 aircraft.

The FAA has a pressing need to acquire a new fighter type to replace the Dassault Mirage III and Mirage 5 fleets that were retired in late 2015, and the ageing Douglas A-4R Fightinghawk fleet that is proving increasing difficult and costly to maintain.

An Argentine delegation first visited the Republic of Korea Air Force's (RoKAF's) 16th Fighter Wing at Yecheon on 7 September 2016, when an FAA pilot tested a TA-50 Golden Eagle operational trainer variant of the FA-50.

Other aircraft types that the FAA has reportedly considered include the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Kfir, the Dassault Mirage F1, the Alenia M-346FT, the Aero L-159 ALCA, the CAC FC-1/PAC JF-17 Thunder, the Saab Gripen, early-model Eurofighter Typhoons, and the Sukhoi Su-24 'Fencer' (although this is widely believed to have been a hoax).

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