This is the story of five war planes bought from France for more than 12 million euros, which never flew and will now be discarded by the Argentine Ministry of Defense. These are the five Super Étendard Modernisé that Mauricio Macri’s government bought from Emmanuel Macron’s in 2017 to carry out surveillance during the G-20 summit in 2018, but they only arrived in 2019 and did not fulfill the patrol function either the Argentine sea for which they were also designed.
These five second-hand Dassault Super Étendards bought from the French are relatives of the 11-14 Dassault-Breguet Super Étendard naval fighter aircraft used by Argentina, several of which sank two UK fleet ships in the war for the Malvinas, of 1982: the HMS Sheffield and the HMS Ardent .
The Defense Commission considers it key to “recover the country’s supersonic capacity”
Macron seduced Macri during his visit to France. And there this sale of these aircraft that in France were already withdrawn from active service was announced. The specialized site Aerotime He says that the €12 million contract included eight ATAR 8K50 engines, spare parts and a training simulator. The site maintains that the Argentine government delayed payment for four months, and the five planes were finally delivered. It was in 2019. Although one made its first launch in May 2020, the aircraft could never reach operational status.
The problem? One of them is the seat. Due to the embargo, the Super Étendard Modernisé could not be delivered with its MK6 ejection seat made by the British group Martin Baker.
These planes were ordered for the 2018 G-20 but were a year late
The British embargo that governs Argentine purchases of military equipment affects an infinity of operations. They are, in fact, at the center of the tensions of the fighter planes that the Air Force wants to buy: the F-16s of the Americans have to go through British authorization. The Chinese JF-17s are not, but it is a highly sensitive purchase for Washington and for the Western tradition of Argentine forces.
The news of the retirement of the Super Étendard Modernisé irritated the armed forces, which do not have aircraft for maritime patrols and use the ocean patrol vessels (OPVs) that were also bought from France, when fuel is available. “Those planes should never have been bought, they told Clarion sources consulted.
The announcement that these aircraft will be withdrawn without having been used (and after having been deteriorating in Navy hangars) was made by Defense Minister Jorge Taiana.
“We had planned to recover them, so I went to speak with the Minister of Defense [francés], who told me that they cannot be recovered, for two reasons. For the seats, which the British did not give up, and for a series of pieces that are now withdrawn. They, who had initially seen the possibility of manufacturing the parts, say that they cannot manufacture them, ”he said.
The controversies affect both Agustín Rossi and now Taiana, the two defense ministers of Alberto Fernández who “did nothing” to recover it, on the contrary, “sought to hide it.”
Twelve million euros is the cost of the five warplanes ordered by Macri from Macron
The retirement of the Super Étendard Modernisé also generates criticism of Macri’s previous management, of his former chief of staff, Marcos Peña, of former Defense Minister Oscar Ahuad and those in charge of the Navy at that time, for having bought planes with so many limitations.
The former president of the Committee for the Defense of Deputies, Carlos Fernández, indicated that they were following “carefully the process to avoid scrapping a material that we believe can still perform functions and provide Argentina with a key element that can allow it to recover supersonic capacity until a new government adequately negotiates the renewal of that capacity”.
Current aircraft with similar characteristics (the Rafale, F-16, Saab 39 Gripen, Eurofighter) have a market cost of 70 million euros each, without including the costs of training personnel, in addition to the necessary spare parts for their implementation. .