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Argentina’s pursuit of enhancing its air combat capabilities with Ex-Danish F-16A/B fighter jets faces several challenges, particularly concerning the acquisition of advanced Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missiles (BVRAAMs). While the U.S. Congress has approved the sale of these fighter aircraft to Argentina, it remains non-committal regarding the provision of the latest AMRAAM series of BVRAAMs. This reluctance is attributed to both the ageing nature of the F-16 platforms and potential objections from the United Kingdom.

The Ex-Danish F-16A/B fighter jets, specifically the Block 15/20 MLU variants, can be equipped with AIM-120C5 BVRAAMs, which offer a respectable interception range. However, the Argentine Air Force has expressed a preference for Israeli-developed Python-5 and Derby missiles to be integrated into these F-16s. This choice is influenced by concerns about potential restrictions on the sale of additional weapons at a later stage.

As an alternative solution, India has offered its indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Tejas, which can operate both Python-5 and Derby missiles. However, there is a significant roadblock to this proposal in the form of British-supplied components and systems integrated into the Tejas.

To make the LCA-Tejas a viable choice for Argentina, HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) is exploring options to replace British-supplied components with non-British alternatives. This includes offering a locally developed Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar to replace the British components in the radar system. Additionally, HAL has agreed to swap out the British in-flight refuelling system.

However, replacing the British-supplied ejection seats with the proposed Russian ejection seats presents a more complex challenge. It would necessitate an expensive redesign of the aircraft’s cabin to accommodate the new ejection system.

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