- Instead of focusing on supporting the export of a single commodity, state-owned HAL has positioned itself as a defence partner.
- According to a senior commander who requested anonymity, "India's self-reliance journey can further empower Argentina's sovereignty over choosing fighters for its defence."
Among the nations exhibiting interest in the native Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, Argentina stands out as a South American nation. Argentina has been unable to modernise its armed forces because it is mired in a bitter diplomatic conflict with the United Kingdom (UK). While the US has provided them with used F-16s that have undergone limited modernization, it is eager to arm itself with more potent combat aircraft to begin with. Aircraft could be the beginning.
Top Argentine Defence Delegation here
The Joint Chiefs of Staff Chief of Argentina, General Juan Paleo, and other senior military leaders would be visiting the DefExpo in Gandhinagar to look over the various platforms and armaments India has to offer, top diplomatic sources confirmed to Financial Express Online. Along with stopping by the Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) pavilion, he and his officers will also have meetings with senior DRDO officials while at the expo.
Argentine Air Force pilots visited the HAL plant in Bengaluru to test the LCA “Tejas,” and General Juan Paleo and his crew will also stop by the HAL facilities in Bengaluru on their way back to New Delhi, according to diplomatic sources.
Interest in the recently inducted Light Combat Helicopter
The crew is anticipated to test the HAL helicopters, particularly the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) Prachand, with its pilots.
Financial Express Online previously reported on a long-running diplomatic impasse between the UK and a collection of islands off the coast of South America’s nation known as the Falkland Islands. The Argentinean attempt to forcefully recover the islands marked a turning point in the conflict. The Argentine offensive was forced to capitulate thanks to the UK. The UK has actively opposed Argentine military modernization ever since the 1982 Falklands War. The United Kingdom still imposes a weapons embargo on the nation.
Argentina scouts around for fighter jets
Argentina chose the South Korean FA 50 when it was looking for a fighter jet. The UK weapons embargo put a halt to the agreement, and Argentina preferred Israeli Kfir Block 60s before the FA-50. Following the US rejection regarding the American engines in the fighter, this, too, did not mature.
There doesn’t seem to be any relief for Argentina’s Air Force as its fleet and air force are currently declining. Public reports claim that American pressure led to the cancellation of the Chinese aircraft contract.
The India way
According to Financial Express Online, HAL offered Argentina the LCA Tejas in 2021. However, out of concern for the UK arms embargo, Argentina has asked HAL to identify substitutes for any UK-made parts used in the LCA Tejas. Finding an alternative for the ejector chairs with UK origins is part of this assignment.
Is there an alternative to Martin Baker’s Ejection Seat?
Yes, if a contract with Argentina is successful, HAL has considered utilising a Russian ejection seat in place of the one made by the UK business.
HAL & Argentina
HAL has been confident about confronting the South American country. Executives from HAL visited Argentina in September and had high-profile meetings with key military figures as well as the government-owned Fábrica Argentina de Aviones.
Instead of focusing on supporting the export of a single commodity, state-owned HAL has positioned itself as a defence partner. Argentina also aims to increase its air force as soon as possible.
According to a senior commander who requested anonymity, “India’s self-reliance journey can further empower Argentina’s sovereignty over choosing fighters for its defence.”