Argentine Defense Minister Jorge Taiana said the Malvinas Islands were to be restored “sooner rather than later... to its legitimate owners.” He made those remarks to veterans from the 1982 war attending the reopening of the Air Force's Base in Rìo Gallegos, from where converted training IA-63 Pampa III jets with fighting capabilities will “monitor and control” the South Atlantic enclave. The unit had not had combat aircraft since 1996.
When we proposed to recover the X Brigade with Pampa III aircraft, it was clear to us that it was necessary to deploy to the south forces with combat capacity that could cover this part of our territory, which is so strategic, Taiana also pointed out during a ceremony that was attended by Santa Cruz Governor Alicia Kirchner and Air Force Chief-of-Staff General Xavier Issac among other authorities.
The measure means repositioning the IA-63 Pampa III Weapons System as permanent features to increase the presence and projection of the military in the area.
The reopening of the X Brigade is directly linked to the vision of an Argentina that projects [itself] southwards, to the Atlantic, the islands and Antarctica, which are strategic components for the country's development, Taiana also said.
In the 21st century, we have the challenge of maintaining our presence, monitoring and controlling our spaces, and paying attention to scientific, technological, and defense development, he added.
Argentina has a defensive, operational, and autonomous strategy that corresponds to a country that is the eighth largest territory in the world endowed with innumerable riches and a free people with a will to grow and solidarity, he went on.
Now we can say that it is not only a training aircraft, it is an attack aircraft, it is an aircraft that gives us the possibility to effectively control our space, Isaac noted.
The Pampas previously operating from the VI Air Brigade in the city of Tandil in the province of Buenos Aires were relocated to the X Air Brigade in Río Gallegos, together with their crews and equipment. Helicopters suitable for Antarctic logistic support and for military search and rescue services are to be added to the base shortly, it was reported.
Since May 2022, an Argentine-built RPA-170M Air Surveillance and Control Radar, produced by INVAP, has been operating in Río Grande, Tierra del Fuego, which increased the surveillance capacity of the aerospace in the South Atlantic.
Production of the IA-63 Pampa III is carried out at the Argentine Aircraft Factory (FAdeA), which facilitates the process of replacing obsolete and imported components and systems of the aircraft, thus favoring the growth of the network of national technology-based SMEs.
Taiana expressed his gratitude to the veterans attending the event and foresaw that the territory usurped by an extra-regional power will return to its legitimate owners shortly.