A Lockheed Martin A-4AR Fightinghawk of the Fuerza Aérea Argentina (FAA), the Argentine Air Force, crashed during a training flight south of Cordoba, Argentina. The pilot managed to eject but died of his injuries.
The fighter jet, registered C-295, belonged to the 5th Air Brigade based in Villa Reynolds, in the province of San Luis, central Argentina. It had taken off from its home base for a training flight.
The aircraft crashed in a field near Villa Valeria, south of the city of Cordoba. The pilot managed to eject and was reported alive at first. However, it later appeared that he succumbed to his injuries.
“We regret to report that after the ejection carried out this morning, the A4AR pilot was found dead in the vicinity of the town of Villa Valeria”, the Argentine Air Force said in a statement.
— FuerzaAéreaArgentina (@FuerzaAerea_Arg) August 5, 2020
The reason for the crash is unknown at this time. An investigation into the circumstances of the accident was opened.
The Lockheed-Martin A-4AR Fightinghawk is derived from the famous Douglas A-4 Skyhawk of the Cold War era. The upgraded variant was specifically developed for the Argentine Air Force as a ground attack aircraft, and owes its nickname to the avionics it shares with the F-16 Fighting Falcon
Argentinian’s dire need of fighter jets
The Argentine Air Force has been struggling to renew its aging fighter fleet. The most humiliating sign of urgency dates back to Barack Obama’s visit on March 24, 2016. At the time, the United States had to use four of its own F-16 to escort Air Force One, as Argentina did not possess any aircraft quick enough to do so. Six of the 36 A-4AR Fightinghawks delivered in 1997 are still reported as active.
In January 2018, the sale of the five Dassault-Breguet Super Etendard Modernisés that had retired from active duty within the French Navy was announced during a visit of President Macri in France. The €12 million contract also included eight ATAR 8K50 engines, spare parts and a training simulator. After Argentina delayed the payment for four months, the five aircraft were finally delivered. In May 2020, one of them made its first rollout.
In July 2019, it was reported that the Argentinian government had notified South Korea of its intention to acquire a batch of 10 KAI FA-50 Fighting Eagle fighter jets. However, in early 2020, the project was canceled due to the financial pressure of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.