UK blocks KAI FA-50 light fighter sale to Argentina

UK blocks FA50 sale Argentina
UK blocks KAI FA-50 light fighter sale to Argentina.

The UK has officially banned the sale of the FA-50 Fighting Eagle light combat aircraft to Argentina. The South Korean manufacturer recently informed Buenos Aires that it is unable to close the deal as the aircraft includes British-made components.

In a letter dated October 28, 2020, a senior official from Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) told Argentina's Ambassador to the Republic of Korea Alfredo Carlos Bascou that the FA-50 cannot be exported due to the arms embargo of the British government towards the country.

“It is our regret to inform you that the UK export license issue is not resolved to date. Although KAI did not yet find a solution, KAI is making a reasonable endeavor to resolve this UK export license issue,” the letter said.

The veto was also confirmed by the Argentine Defense Minister Agustín Rossi who described it as a further confirmation of "imperial arrogance" by the United Kingdom.

The UK has imposed an arms embargo on Argentina, which also includes those that have parts of British origin, following the war between two nations in 1982 over ownership of the Falkland Islands. The FA-50 includes six major components that come from the UK.

Argentina has already had to give up another combat aircraft for the same reason. In 2014, the UK banned the sale of the Gripen to Argentina as the Swedish jet comprises 30 percent of British-made components.

The fleet of the Argentine Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Argentina) was drastically reduced following the over 70 aircraft lost during the Falklands War and the difficulty of replacing them for budgetary and UK-veto reasons. According to Argentine media, the country is now looking at Chinese and Russian fighters.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Image: US DoD

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