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Argentina has taken a significant step in modernizing its air force with the official signing of a deal to acquire 24 ex-Danish F-16A/B Fighting Falcon Multi-role Lightweight fighters. The signing ceremony was led by Argentinian Minister of Defense Luis Petri.

This move comes after Argentina considered offers for the Indian-made LCA Tejas and the Chinese JF-17. However, the ex-Danish F-16s emerged as the frontrunner due to their attractive price tag – reportedly less than $24 million per unit – which is significantly lower than the cost of new Tejas or JF-17s. This competitive pricing likely played a decisive role in Argentina’s decision.

The signing ceremony also saw the unveiling of the first Argentinian F-16, marking a symbolic step towards integrating these aircraft into the nation’s air defense system.

The deal extends beyond just the fighter jets. Argentina has also secured a package of AIM-9X Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles and AIM-120D AMRAAM beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles. These weapon systems will significantly enhance the offensive and defensive capabilities of Argentina’s air force.

The acquisition of these F-16s represents a major boost for Argentina’s airpower. The relatively new and well-equipped jets, coupled with advanced weaponry, will provide the Argentinian Air Force with a significant edge in protecting its airspace. This deal signifies Argentina’s commitment to modernizing its military and ensuring its continued defense capabilities.