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Argentina’s army official visits Pakistan to inspect JF-17 thunder fighters

The recent visit to Pakistan by the head of Argentina’s joint military staff has fed speculation that a JF-17 fighter jet deal is on the horizon, following more than a decade of interest by the South American nation.

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General Juan Martin Paleo, the Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Argentina, recently traveled to Pakistan to see the PAF’s JF-17 Thunder fighter jets, which Argentina will purchase soon.

General Juan learned about the capabilities of the JF-17 Thunder Block III 4+ generation multirole fighter aircraft while touring Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), Kamra.

He was also informed of PAC’s top-notch fighter aircraft production capabilities and its demonstrated capacity to produce aircraft on schedule and in accordance with client demands.

Read more: Nigeria introduces JF-17 Thunder fighters with an aim to modernize air force

Additionally, General Juan made calls to senior members of the Pakistan Air Force and the PAC Kamra administration (PAF).

In June of this year, General Juan also traveled to Pakistan. He met with Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmad Babar, the PAF’s chief of air staff, on this tour.

Both top officials spoke on JF-17 fighter jet purchases and other aspects of bilateral military cooperation.

In December 2020, Argentina decided to procure JF-17 Thunder fighter jets after South Korea refused to supply Argentine Air Force FA-50 fighter jets due to diplomatic pressure from the UK, which is Argentina’s geopolitical rival.

Ties between the UK and Argentina have been strained since the 1980s after the latter invaded British Overseas Territories (BOTS), namely the Falkland Islands and its territorial dependency South Georgia, and the South Sandwich Islands in 1982. The move resulted in a 10-week long undeclared Falklands War that ended with a British victory.

Read more: Myanmar negotiating to “license-build” Pak-China JF-17 Multi-Role Thunder Fighters

Defense experts are of the view that the acquisition of JF-17 Block-III fighter jets by the AAF could have significant political and military ramifications for the UK next to the Falkland Islands and the South Sandwich Islands.

In September 2021, the Argentine government officially earmarked $664 million in the country’s 2022 budget for the purchase of 12 JF-17 Thunder fighter jets, of which 10 will be single-seater and 2 dual-seater.

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