Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has said its plans to re-engage with Argentine Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Argentina) over the potential export of FA-50 Fighting Eagle light attack aircraft has been put on hold as a result of coronavirus outbreak (Covid-19). A KAI official was quoted by local media news agencies as saying that the coronavirus pandemic has had an adverse effect on Argentina’s economy and that its bid to sell FA-50s to the country had been delayed indefinitely. Regarding previous media reports that KAI’s FA-50 had been designated as a preferred option of Argentine Air Force, KAI said it cannot comment on military contracts that are not finalized.
The Argentine Air Force evaluated the FA-50 as a potential new platform in 2016. The Argentine government is seeking to buy the FA-50 through repatriation in Korea. As of July 2019, the Argentine Air Force, is set to buy FA-50s as an interim replacement for the retired Mirage 3, 5, and Dagger force. It is also to help replace the retiring A-4AR Fightinghawk fleet, as those aircraft are aging and becoming difficult to repair and maintain. If the deal is approved it will be a first step in modernizing and revitalizing the country’s fighter fleet. Argentine media sources stated that the government is looking to purchase ten FA-50 fighters.
The KAI FA-50 Fighting Eagle is a family of South Korean supersonic light combat aircraft, developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) with Lockheed Martin. The FA-50 is the most advanced version of the KAI T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic advanced trainers and light combat aircraft,, possessing more internal fuel capacity, enhanced avionics, a longer radome and a tactical datalink. It is equipped with a modified Israeli EL/M-2032 pulse-Doppler radar with Korean-specific modifications by LIG Nex1. The engine could be either Eurojet EJ200 or General Electric F414 and are offered to prospective customers for the T-50. Samsung Thales is also independently developing a domestic multi-mode AESA radar for the FA-50.