The Argentine Defense Ministry published a statement denying previous claims that the country has selected the JF-17 as its next fighter jet.
The statement most likely came as a reaction to numerous reports claiming that Argentina was about to purchase the fighter jet from Pakistan.
“The Defense Ministry informs that, by means of Public Credit Operations Authorization note, it has requested the inclusion of the authorization to manage a credit of up to USD 664 million for the acquisition of multipurpose fighter aircraft for the surveillance and control of airspace into the 2022 budget,” the statement reads.
“Likewise, the Ministry clarifies that it has not issued a decision to purchase a supersonic aircraft of any origin and is in the stage of technical-economic and financial evaluation of five alternatives,” the statement adds.
It highlights the fact that the sum of $664 million has not been allocated to the purchase of the plane, as the media claimed following the publication of the draft budget. The government requested a public credit for the sum, and it is yet to be allocated.
The statement mentions that the Defense Ministry has not yet selected a particular aircraft. It does not explain why the JF-17 has been mentioned in the budget draft.
Previous reports suggest that Argentina is evaluating fighter jets manufactured in the United States, Russia and India. However, the exact models that are among the “five alternatives” mentioned in the statement are unclear.
For decades following the Falklands War, Argentina struggled to modernize its Air Force, with numerous negotiations for fighter jet purchases being stalled or stopped due to British interference.
The latest reports about the supposed JF-17 purchase can be traced to a tweet with erroneous claims, published by a Pakistani think tank.