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Asian-made fighters stay in the picture for Argentina

3rd June 2022 - 12:00 GMT | by Wilder Alejandro Sanchez in Washington DC

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The Argentine ambassador to China, Sabino Vaca Narvaja, holds a model of the JF-17 during a January 2022 visit to CATIC facilities. (Photo: CATIC)

Recent visits indicate that Argentina may procure Chinese or Indian aircraft to meet a new fixed-wing combat air requirement — although choosing the former could cause friction between Buenos Aires and Washington.

Officials from the Argentine MoD have met potential suppliers of 12 new combat aircraft for the country’s air force (FAA). While it is unclear when the MoD will move ahead with this acquisition programme to renew the FAA’s fixed-wing combat fleet, theories abound regarding the potential supplier.

The apparent front-runner is the China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC), which produces the multirole JF-17 Thunder in conjunction with Pakistan Aeronautical Complex. In late May, a delegation of FAA personnel travelled to China to visit CATIC facilities and evaluate the JF-17.

A previous high-profile visit took place between late

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