United Kingdom has effectively barred the sale of the FA-50 Fighting Eagle to Argentina, with the South Korean manufacturer informing Buenos Aires that it is unable to supply the light fighter and strike jet since it has British-made parts.
In a letter dated 28 October, a senior official at Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) told Argentina’s ambassador to the Republic of Korea Alfredo Carlos Bascou that the FA-50 cannot be exported due to the UK government’s arms embargo on the country. The FA-50 includes six major components that are sourced from the UK.
“It is our regret to inform you that the UK export license issue is not resolved to date. Although KAI did not yet find a solution, KAI is making a reasonable endeavor to resolve this UK export license issue,” the letter posted online said.
In Argentina Defense minister Agustín Rossi, admitted that the British government had objected to the FA 50 operation with South Korea. Rossi described the situation as another display of imperial arrogance by the UK.
Following the 1982 South Atlantic conflict, UK imposed an arms embargo on Argentina extensive to procurements which have minimum components of British origin, such is the case with the South Korean FA 50, and six UK made pieces.
Something similar happened when Argentina approached Brazil that made a significant purchase of Swedish jet fighters, most of which are to be assembled in South America. However most of the Saab Grippen avionics is of British origin.
The Argentine air force is almost grounded since besides the fifty plus aircraft lost during the conflict, it has been unable to replace them, be it for financial reasons or the UK embargo. According to the Argentine media, the country is now considering to approach China or Russia for the supply of jet fighters.