On October 11, 2023, Deputy Assistant Minister for Regional Security Mira Resnick conveyed the agreement to Jorge Argüello, Argentina's Ambassador to the United States. The letter includes the sale of four P-3 maritime patrol aircraft from Norway to Argentina. F-16s will be equipped with air-to-air AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9 missiles, and the U.S. is also working on a financing package for $ 40 million to facilitate the purchase. The permission includes the sale of up to 38 F-16s to Argentina. The country is evaluating the Chinese JF-17 offer on the subject.
The move is part of Argentina's efforts to modernise its air force, which relies on an ageing fighter fleet.
The authorisation for the F-16 includes a comprehensive package of support, equipment, maintenance information and weapons.
Although no official decision has been announced, the Argentine Air Force has reportedly chosen to purchase only 24 of these aircraft. Previously, Argentina intended to buy the FA-50 Fighting Eagle from the Republic of Korea. However, this intention was vetoed by the United Kingdom, which has the rights to the components of the aircraft.
The United Kingdom imposed a rigid arms embargo on Argentina due to the Falkland War (1982), and the blockade included the sale of any British military equipment as a subcomponent. Due to the rejection by Britain, Argentina also considered other fighter aircraft, such as the MiG-29 and MiG-35 made in Russia and the LCA Tejas made in India.
The Argentinian Defence Ministry allocated 664 million dollars in September 2021 to acquire 12 new fighter aircraft.
There is no publicly known British reaction to the U.S. or Denmark regarding the permission; however, formally, the U.S. does not need British permission as there are no British components that the approval.
Buenos Aires wants to find a replacement for the Dassault Mirage III fighters that it retired in 2015.