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"Argentina suspends fighter replacement program" Topic

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Deadles Inactive Member02 Feb 2017 3:05 p.m. PST

Argentina is cancelling their fighter replacement program. They were trying to buy 18 Israeli Kfirs (Mirage III derivative) but don't have them money.

That leaves Argentina's airforce down to a handful of A-4AR Skyhawks (ex-USMC A-4Ms with F-16 avionics). But those are being withdrawn in 2018 due to age and lack of spare parts.

So Argentina's airforce will have no combat jets by end of 2018. The Navy still has some Super Etendards but most of those aren't operational anyhow.

Their airforce "combat" strength from 2019:

20 operational & modernised IA-58 Pucara turboprop ground attack aircraft.

18 operational IA-63 Pampa light jet trainers (smaller and less capable than an Alpha Jet or BAe Hawk). These can carry an extremely limited payload

Argentina's air force was once the most powerful in Latin America and now is one of the weakest. It's capabilities aren't much more than Bolivia's.

emckinney02 Feb 2017 3:09 p.m. PST

I guess the Royal Navy not having a carrier wouldn't matter so much in Falklands/Malvinas as 2.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP02 Feb 2017 4:05 p.m. PST

Oh we'll have a carrier soon….it just won't have any fixed winged assets…or aeroplanes as we sometimes quaintly call them.

We have an aircraft carrier with no aircraft…that is British wit at its finest. grin

I guess the fleet air arm pilots could run around the deck flapping their arms and making jet engine "Wheeeeeeeee" noises. That would be visual humour worthy of a Monty Python sketch.

Although – what are the fleet air arm doing with their fast jet pilots? When they have no fast jets. Genuine question folks!

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP02 Feb 2017 4:09 p.m. PST

Maybe someone will loan them some jets. What do they need? I don't anticipate any other South American country invading them. I would expect most of their air arm to be set up for COIN operations, but I agree that some fighters would be nice.

Deadles Inactive Member02 Feb 2017 4:19 p.m. PST


Right now you don't need a carrier to defend Falklands, The 4 Eurofighters based there represent overwhelming air superiority.

Also with regards to the 2 carriers, they're going to be a bit of a millstone. You only have 19 ships capable of escort duty for a carrier. Given naval rule of 3, it means there's only about 6 ships operational at any time (6 being serviced, 6 in training). Means pretty much most of the surface fleet will be required for carrier escort duty as opposed to other tasks.

And the future surface fleet may shrink further. The 13 Type 23 frigates are scheduled to be only replaced by 8 Type 26 frigates.

The remaining 5 Type 26 frigates will be replaced by a Type 31 General Purpose Frigate which so far seems to be an oversized patrol boat thus not suitable for escort duties.

Roles for Type 31 include: maritime security, counter terrorism and naval gunfire.

So future RN surface fleet:

6 x Type 45 Daring Air Warfare/ASW destroyers
8 x Type 26 Anti-Submarine Warfare frigates.
5 x Type 31 General Frigates/Large Offshore Patrol Vessels.

Furthermore the carriers will also chew up attack submarines for escort duties. RN attack submarine fleet is only 7 boats strong. Rule of 3 means 2 active.

And most likely 1 of these 2 will be assigned to carrier escort duty.

I think the RN should've just got a new Gator class LHD instead.

Maybe someone will loan them some jets. What do they need? I don't anticipate any other South American country invading them. I would expect most of their air arm to be set up for COIN operations, but I agree that some fighters would be nice.

Fighters are required for air policing roles (ie interception of errant or unidentified civilian aircraft).

Air policing is actually far more intensive in Latin America than Europe due to need to intercept and sometimes shoot down drug runners.

A COIN aircraft is usually too slow for intercept.

COIN aircraft also can't intercept errant airliners who fly too fast and too high. You need a supersonic jet for this, even if it's no more sophisticated than a MiG-21.

Additionally Colombia's Kfirs are out of service in 2019 and a replacement has yet to be selected.

Given lead in time for new fighter introduction it means Colombia will probably be without supersonic interception capability for some time or even without anything at all.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP02 Feb 2017 4:34 p.m. PST

The main saving grace here is that there can't be much of an operational reason to put the carriers to sea.

Trying to remember – but IIRC no fighters, no Long Range Patrol Aircraft – so the first to enter service would be just the world's largest helicopter carrier?

Wouldn't it make more sense to keep the aircraft carriers in port, and allow the ASW helicopters on other assets perform that task ?

As you say – if the big boat sails then half the fleet is tied up protecting it.

28mm Fanatik02 Feb 2017 4:40 p.m. PST

The British carriers will host USMC F-35B's until the RN Lightnings can be acquired. Budget realities make getting both at the same time impossible.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP02 Feb 2017 4:50 p.m. PST

But that wouldn't be in a war fighting capability, would it?

The UK can't take the USMC to war on its own authority, can it?

Or can it? Genuinely don't know how the agreement works – assumed it was aimed at inter-operational training.

This assumes, of course, that there is no change of priorities – who is bearing the cost of the USMC deployment ? Arguably the UK is getting more out of this than the USA – our ship gets shaken down and operational procedures get fine tuned. Our ship crews gain experience they otherwise wouldn't. So, potentially, this is an agreement that could change. Who knows?

Deadles Inactive Member02 Feb 2017 5:03 p.m. PST


You're absolutely right in that this isn't a real war fighting capability due to units being American.

The USMC doesn't really gain from it that much (interoperability but then that's it).

And as it stands F-35 may have got IOC but it's still far from a truly deployable asset. Current warfghting capabilities for F-35 are below legacy jets.

Hypothetically they will get FOC once Block 3F software is up and running. Code writing is apparently 98% complete (basically it's way behind schedule).

And 3F isn't the final full product – that's 4F which was meant to arrive in early 2020s but this is unlikely given we don't even have Block 3F up and running in 2017!

TGerritsen02 Feb 2017 5:40 p.m. PST

Deadles where you do you get your info? I've been reading your posts lately and it's clear you are are really behind the times.

"Current warfghting capabilities for F-35 are below legacy jets."

Uh, no. Just no. Have you paid attention to the F35 performance in exercises last year? It's at Red Flag right now and those reports will be out soon.

The first F35B squadron deployed to Japan a month ago. By every single measure they are night and day above the AV-8B they replace. Faster, longer ranged, more ordnance (they can carry internal and external ordnance), better radar, better air to air, better situational awareness, plus zero pilots died in training (the Harrier lost many pilots in training).

You REALLY need to watch these-

YouTube link
YouTube link
YouTube link
YouTube link
YouTube link

Deadles Inactive Member02 Feb 2017 6:01 p.m. PST

Uh, no. Just no. Have you paid attention to the F35 performance in exercises last year? It's at Red Flag right now and those reports will be out soon.

The first F35B squadron deployed to Japan a month ago. By every single measure they are night and day above the AV-8B they replace. Faster, longer ranged, more ordnance (they can carry internal and external ordnance), better radar, better air to air, better situational awareness, plus zero pilots died in training (the Harrier lost many pilots in training).

You're confusing final configuration with current latest configuration (Block 3i software though most jets have older software configurations which are even more limiting).

Read the various evaluation reports. Here's a link to the latest OT&E report published in January 2017 (clearly an out of date source according to you).

Current F-35 warfighting capability is outlined on pages 69-72.

It pays to read actual source documents and not rely on cool Youtube clips.

Oh and attrition is an irrelevance these days due to safety of modern jets. Even ancient MiGS don't crash as much these days due to better operating procedures. Even Harriers don't crash that much these days.

F-22 suffered a total of 2 hull losses since introduction into operational service. 1 was hypoxia and 1 was pilot error. That is a really low loss rate.

The spate of F/A-18 crashes in 2016 was a really bizarre anomaly.

Mako11 Inactive Member02 Feb 2017 6:51 p.m. PST

I suspect the Falkland Islanders will be pleased by this revelation.

That's an excellent, and very detailed report Deadles. Thanks for sharing it.

I'm amazed that the USMC has claimed its F-35s are operational. Seems like a lot more testing, and work needs to be done before our pilots are sent into harm's way, given all the issues "the F-35 Coot" has currently.

Deadles Inactive Member02 Feb 2017 7:48 p.m. PST

USMC Initial Operational Capability was a political stunt.

The USMC version was nearly cancelled some years ago due to performance issues. DefSec Robert Gates even gave the program team an ultimatum in 2010 to fix it or he'd cancel it (or try to cancel it, good luck pushing that through Congress).

The IOC was presented to vindicate the decision to retain the F-35B even though the jet was incapable of performing any of the missions assigned to it.

TGerritsen02 Feb 2017 8:24 p.m. PST

I absolutely read source docs and am very familiar with the OT&E report you link. I have also read publicly available excerscise logs, pilot blogs and squadron reports (those that are available). The OT&E reports are always negative- that's their job. Have you read their reports in the Super Bug? You'd think they aren't an airframe that has been in the field for over a decade. The OT&E reports are written by people who's job it is to note flaws. There is no such thing as a glowing OT&E report. Have you read General Bogdan's response to that report?

Every pilot report I have read talks about how amazing the airframe is and how it creates a sea change in air combat capabilities. They also acknowledge issues, but not in the typical hyperbolic and often uncomprehending way sites like War Is Boring does. I tend to trust pilot reports (which are as original source as you can get) over pencil pushers, which are by definition secondary sources.

I am not at all confusing the 3i and 3f software. I stand by what I said. The 3f software goes live this year and many new weapons will be cleared. That doesn't change the fact that even at 3i the B model is in every way superior to the Harrier it replaces.

Name one aircraft system where all weapon systems were cleared day one. Name one weapon system where there are no known defects and work arounds in effect throughout the life of the aircraft?

Yes, the aircraft is late and over budget. However you state it isn't as capable as legacy aircraft and that's just not born out by the data and performance reports (and please don't quote me the F16 'dogfight' that wasn't- it was an air laws test that David Axe made into something it wasn't and the idiot parade ran with it).

You state in another thread how the F35 is less stealthy than an F117, also untrue. That lead me to think your info is outdated, since the only other place I have seen that claimed was in very old and since discredited sources. Some people claimed that the F35 was less stealthy (several years ago) after the government changed the way it rated stealth aircraft. This led to confusion and mistaken reports that the F35 stealth had been downgraded (it wasn't). This has since been fully refuted and all field reports show that the F35 stealthiness is nearly as good as the F22s.

I linked the YouTube videos only because I know who made them and he bases them on very thorough data collecting and illicits input from pilots, engineers and maintainers. He also updates them with new info when it is uncovered. It's simply easier to link his excellent work than list stacks of links over and over when at see the same misinformation being spread. You really should watch them. (The last video is just a bit of fun at Pierre Sprey's expense so feel free to ignore it.)

Deadles Inactive Member02 Feb 2017 8:58 p.m. PST

All weapons aren't cleared or integrated yet. You can't fire following weapons from an F-35:

AGM-84 (anti-ship/ground attack)
AGM-88 (anti-radar)
AGM-154 (currently being integrated)
AGM-158 JASSM (planned in future)

In fact it's stand off attack capability at present is virtually non existent due to lack of weapon integration and testing (ie AGM-154 and AGM-158).

I tend to trust pilot reports

I don't because who wants to trash their career bad mouthing the latest toy? Especially in this day and age.

You state in another thread how the F35 is less stealthy than an F117, also untrue.

Yes it is true. F-35 is only stealthy frontally whereas B-2, F-117 and F-22 are all round stealth. B-2 and F-117 sacrifice aerodynamic performance for stealth. F-22 is also more stealthy than F-35.

F-35 doesn't fill the same mission requirements so stealth requirement wasn't as stringent.

To a large degree it's an irrelevance stealth weapons loads is minimal and basically a Day 0-1 capability after which they're meant to start loading up ordnance off the wings.

However you state it isn't as capable as legacy aircraft and that's just not born out by the data and performance reports

Current capability is outlined in the OT&E report you disparage. Plenty of mentions of deficiencies compared to older generation because they've not yet been fully developed and implemented.

Then there's issues with helmets, ejection seats, logistics systems.

Now one day when F-35 is all Block 3F'd and then Block 4'd it's performance will be up to spec. Right now it's still being tested

If F-35 was combat capable you'd think they'd be deploying some to support all these crummy wars.

They even sent the F-22 for some PR bombing missions. F-35 is meant to do awesome networked air to ground work. You'd think it'd be ideal for these kind of missions.

But no they're not being deployed yet. Why? Cause they're not operational ie combat deployable at the moment despite IOC.

Mako11 Inactive Member03 Feb 2017 1:17 a.m. PST

Yea, there's a bit of truth to ALL the stories, I suspect, for both sides, e.g. the stealth/non-stealth issues, gun can be fired (but last I saw – software to tie in with the HUD hasn't even been written yet; not to mention the gunpod door issues throwing the aim off – best bet for that is probably to remove them, if needed, as a quick fix), etc., etc..

Last I read, the software was scheduled to be written/delivered in 2022, assuming everything goes right, which with software development, it never does.

I am aware the USMC's declaration was just a political stunt, but is a dangerous precedent.

That should never happen.

Right now, it appears the F-35 is only suitable for Russian-style, Taran attacks, and/or for serving as ballistic and cruise missile bait for the NorKs, Chinese, and Russians.

Those serviceability rates are truly horrendous as well, but that's to be expected for such a new aircraft, I suspect.

Wolfhag03 Feb 2017 6:23 a.m. PST

I think Mako is right. The only consolation I can think of is that the Russians and Chinese will be taking as long or longer to get their new generation of fighters up to speed too.

We still have a lot F-4's from VN and the Cold War in mothballs at Davis-Montham that we may need if an engagement drags out. No more F-105 though, they are all in N. Vietnam.


TGerritsen03 Feb 2017 7:52 a.m. PST

The F22 was full FOC before it went to battle, so you are comparing apples to oranges.

The F35 isn't FOC yet. That's why they haven't committed it yet. However, they just stood up the first squadron in Japan a month ago. If there were a conflict in Asia, you bet the F35 would be there.

3F happens later this year. The rollout schedule is a public document. It's also been on track since the big program shake up back in 2012. Yet no matter how many wins the F35 gets, the naysayers simply won't let go. I haven't seen this much hyperbole since the M1, which nearly all press reported as an expensive useless boondoggle. Those who read the field reports and reports from tankers knew that was bs and were proven right.

I can't understand anyone who won't accept pilot reports. Claiming they all, every single one of them, will lie to keep their jobs just smacks in the face of reality. Is it possible a pilot might lie to keep their job? Sure, but no pilot wants to fly a plane that will kill them.

I know a lot of pilots. Every single one of them will go on an on about airplanes they love to fly and airplanes they hate to fly. They also will go on and on about the deficiencies in planes they love to fly. They aren't fools.

The only negative pilot reports I've read are from people who have never flown the F35 or even sat in it's cockpit. Pilots who have never flown a plane but go on about what they love or hate about it are the ones you should beware of.

Tired Mammal03 Feb 2017 9:01 a.m. PST

Is it a TMP rule that any post mentioning jet aircraft must be converted to a F35 is "insert euphemism here" within 6 posts?
Can we have separate boards for F35 and LCS moans please? Just to save continuously going over the same ground

28mm Fanatik03 Feb 2017 1:53 p.m. PST

Oh how I miss the A-10 posts. Not!


SouthernPhantom03 Feb 2017 2:16 p.m. PST

Deadles, I think you'd be surprised at the standoff capability of a JDAM lofted by a supersonic fighter. AGM-84 is old hardware; look to JSM/NSM for current ASuW missiles. AGM-65's role is met by JDAM, Brimstone, and SDB. Check out to discus F-35 capabilities with professionals- pilots and engineers.

Risaldar Singh03 Feb 2017 2:53 p.m. PST

Are the Argies getting F-35s then ? ;-)

Deadles Inactive Member03 Feb 2017 4:11 p.m. PST

southern phantom, JDSM offers not even close to range of AGM-154 or AGM-158. These are being integrated or planned for integration on F-35.

JSM isn't in service yet (2025). Nor is it planned for US acquisition.

By 2021-23 F-35 is better than anything in service. Right now it is not as it still id in development.

As for, it is great for information but the forum is rabid fanboys. Most are armchair generals (line most of us) and most are ex-service people at best.

Someone mentioned Block 3f (this forum ducks for mobiles). That is in coning on lobe now. To make it operational it will Joe

And it still doesn't resolve other issues such as melting tail surfaces during high speed, helmet lag etc, massive problems with logistics/diagnostic system (basically all computerized and networked from the jet to to the supplier).

Those will be resolved in the future too.

And finally Argues aren't getting F-35s. As of 2019 an F-86 Sabre would be a massive boost to their capability.

But the RN/RAF is getting a handful of F-35s between now and 2020.

willlucv Inactive Member03 Feb 2017 11:14 p.m. PST

I think this has drifted ot a bit. Perhaps the Argentinians should work with the British with regard to air support. Might be of mutual benefit….

Risaldar Singh04 Feb 2017 1:35 a.m. PST

Are Argies are getting F-86 Sabres then ?

Deadles Inactive Member04 Feb 2017 6:29 a.m. PST

No. They retired the Sabres in the 1970s.

Argues are getting nothing new and are pensioning off their existing fighter fleet.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse04 Feb 2017 10:38 a.m. PST

We have no more Air Force nor Navy… and the Army… well… no comments!.

Like Andorra!… (smile).

We are sorrounded of only good friends… so, for what we need them?… (smile)

Better to made schools and hospitals…


Lion in the Stars04 Feb 2017 12:33 p.m. PST

Yes it is true. F-35 is only stealthy frontally whereas B-2, F-117 and F-22 are all round stealth. B-2 and F-117 sacrifice aerodynamic performance for stealth. F-22 is also more stealthy than F-35.

Like hell is the F117 stealthy from all aspects. It was specifically designed to defeat radars from head on. The entire belly is two flat planes, which is about as non-stealthy as you can get. Turn belly-on to a radar and an F117 has a freaking huge RCS. How else do you think that the Serbs managed to shoot one down with 1960s-era Soviet radars and missiles?

Deadles Inactive Member04 Feb 2017 6:19 p.m. PST

F-117 shoot down was result of Serbs being smart enough to figure out USAF was flying same routes. They also used forward observers and possibly thermal and laser equipment. They used long wavelength radar frequencies but only for periods of less than 20 seconds to avoid SEAD. Finally missiles were manually guided and not by radar. They were volley fired as well.

Only time F-117s RCS failed was when the bomb bays open (being wet would also reduce stealth advantage but this does not appear to be a factor).

Modern thermal, radar and laser range finding gear has cone along way since Serbia's 1970s vintage SA-3's were deployed.

Anyhow F-35 is all aspect stealth. And ad I said most missions will not require stealth anyhow.

Mako11 Inactive Member04 Feb 2017 7:29 p.m. PST

I've been lead to believe, by various articles, that the F-35's stealth from the side and rear leads a lot to be desired.

Granted, probably better than non-stealthy jets, but certainly not really an all-round, stealth design.

Deadles Inactive Member04 Feb 2017 8:04 p.m. PST

Mako, the F-35 doesn't need all round stealth given its intended operating methods and combined arms tactics (ie combined with cruise missiles, F-22s, B-2s and electronic warfare).

From what I read these parameters were based off experience in GW1 and in particular ops over Baghdad.

At the time assumption ead GW1 was the future – high intensity warfare against middle powers. At the time no one predicted transformation of Chinese capabilities or return of Russia.

Risaldar Singh05 Feb 2017 11:03 a.m. PST

Deadles, only pulling your leg.

I don't mind a bit of thread drift, happens everywhere, but seeing yet another thread turned into yet another F-35 debate gets old fast.

Daniel S05 Feb 2017 12:43 p.m. PST

F-117 wasn't perfectluy invisible even in the early 90's, during trials the Swedish made Ericsson Giraffe 75 was able to detect and lock on to the F-117 but the range at which this was achived was very short=very limited reation time and the aircraft could usually engage the target and break lock before it was possible to even try to engage it.

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