Argentine defense minister Agustín Rossi is furious with the UK for having blocked the purchase deal of several Korean manufactured training jet fighters FA-50 to re-equip the Air Force and which he had anticipated last October. “A new display of imperial arrogance”, Rossi described the incident.
The FA-50 Golden Eagle was developed by the Korean Aerospace Industries in association with the US Lockheed Martin in the nineties, one of the first to be built by the growing South Korean air industry.
However since the model includes six components manufactured in the UK, mainly the pilot's ejection system, apparently Britain appealed to the arms embargo clause on Argentina, standing since the end of the conflict in 1982, and thus blocked the deal.
The UK Strategic Export Controls, as quoted in the Argentine media, and with the purpose of impeding the increase of the country's military capacity states that, “Our general position is that we will continue to refuse licenses for export and trade of goods judged to enhance Argentine military capability”.
Argentine Air Force sources point out that the FA-50 is basically a training aircraft and certainly no match for the Royal Air Force fighters stationed at Mount Pleasant Complex.
Allegedly in 2018, when Mauricio Macri was president, Foreign Office minister for the Americas, Alan Duncan informed Westminster of a degree of flexibility regarding the British arms embargo on Argentina. In exchange Argentina agreed in a joint statement to adopt the appropriate measures to remove all obstacles that limit growth and sustainable development of the Falklands/Malvinas including trade, fisheries, maritime activities and hydrocarbons.
But finally nothing happened, and according to Argentine media, UK also blocked the export of Dunlop tyres for the Argentine designed and built IA063 Pampa, which more importantly limited the training capacity of Air Force pilots. Likewise with the furbished Super Etandards supplied by France in effect they also have ejection seats from UK manufacturer Martin Baker.
Thus following on the collapse of the Korean deal, and with access to western technology impeded, Argentina has now targeted China's fighter FC-1 Xiaolong and the Russian Federation Mig 35, but which do not have the local technical knowledge or logistics support in Argentina, and much less private sector companies capable of maintenance of such aircraft.