Milei administration hails acquisition of two dozen F-16 fighter jets

The US$300 million purchase comes amid mass layoffs and steep cuts in public spending

Argentina has completed its purchase of 24 F-16 fighter jets from Denmark, Defense Minister Luis Petri confirmed on Tuesday. 

The jets, which cost 2.1 billion kroner (approximately US$300 million), were manufactured in the United States. No official date has been scheduled for their transfer.

President Javier Milei had originally planned to be on hand for the announcement in Copenhagen but cut his diplomatic trip to the United States and Denmark short following Iran’s air strike on Israel Saturday night. That strike followed Israel’s bombing of the Iranian embassy in Damascus, Syria, on April 1.

“You’re moving the country forward,” Petri told the president in a video conference, thanking him for “reversing decades of decline in Argentina” while carrying “the banner of freedom to all corners of the world.”

During a press briefing in Buenos Aires, Presidential Spokesman Manuel Adorni hailed the deal as “the most important military acquisition of the last 50 years in Argentina.”

“[These planes] will guarantee Argentina’s control of its airspace and that it can provide an immediate response to any threat,” he added. Adorni did not elaborate as to who or what those threats might be.

The government purchase comes amid steep cuts to public spending. During the International Economic Forum of the Americas in Buenos Aires last month, the president noted that he had kicked 200,000 Argentines off of their social welfare plans and fired 50,000 public sector workers while indicating that he would not renew the contracts of an additional 70,000. 

According to the Argentine Catholic University’s distinguished Social Debt Observatory, 57% of the population was living below the poverty line in January — the highest rate since 2004.

Petri, clad in a flight suit and flanked by Argentine and Danish defense officials, was ebullient about the administration’s latest acquisition. 

“Argentines once again have the forces of the heavens to protect us,” he said.


All Right Reserved.  Buenos Aires Herald