Fighter talks may afford Argentina advanced Chinese missile systems - IHS Jane's 360Fighter talks may afford Argentina advanced Chinese missile systems
Richard D Fisher Jr, Paris - IHS Jane's Missiles & Rockets
27 June 2013
Seen here in Pakistan Air Force service, the FC-1/JF-17 multirole combat aircraft would provide Argentina with the ability to field advanced Chinese missile systems. Source: Paul Jackson
Argentina may be in a position to field advanced Chinese air-to-air and anti-ship weaponry if talks regarding the potential co-production of the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) FC-1/JF-17 multirole combat aircraft come to fruition.
Speaking at the Paris Air Show in mid-June, officials from Fabrica Argentina de Aviones (FAdeA) told IHS Jane's that the company has had multiple discussions with Chinese officials over co-producing the fighter in Argentina. Although the FC-1/JF-17 is already jointly built with Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, FAdeA officials stressed that they are dealing solely with the Chinese in this matter.
While discussions are said to be far from over, if realised they will open up a wide panoply of Chinese weapon systems to Argentina that include the 100 km-range Luoyang SD-10A (PL-12) active radar-guided beyond-visual-range (BVR) air-to-air missile (AAM) and the very high speed CASIC CM-400AKG anti-ship missile, which has a range of 180-250 km.
The latter's impact velocity, which Pakistan officials have described to IHS Jane's as "hypersonic", could prove far more difficult to defend against than the subsonic-speed AM39 Exocet anti-ship missiles that sank the British Royal Navy Type 42 destroyer HMS Sheffield , destroyed the container ship SS Atlantic Conveyor , and seriously damaged the destroyer HMS Glamorgan during the 1982 Falklands War. China has long supported Argentina's claim to the Falkland Island (Islas Malvinas), which it views similarly to its quest to take control of Taiwan.
FAdeA officials told IHS Jane's that technology transfer issues remain a sticking point for potential co-production of the FC-1/JF-17. Nonetheless, the discussions are the first formal effort that could lead to the co-production of a modern Chinese fighter in Latin America. They added that the co-produced FC-1 could be called the 'Pulqui-III', recalling FAdeA's Pulqui-II, Latin America's first swept wing jet fighter, which was designed by Germany's Kurt Tank for the government of Juan Peron.