All sorts of markets are needed, all sorts of markets are important
As you know, Russia is the second largest exporter of arms, military and special equipment in the world after the United States in terms of monetary value, and it firmly holds this place. It will not work to get the United States in the near future - we do not have so many satellites dependent on us with top-bought ones that are ready to overpay exorbitantly (yes, no matter how much sometimes) for weapon from Uncle Sam. Although it would be nice to slowly buy up the "elite" of the native countries, it is much more profitable and cheaper than buying up the sympathies of the natives themselves.
But we cannot be moved from second place either. But you can't rest on your laurels, you need to constantly look for and conquer new markets. Latin America is one of the promising markets, which until recently was completely under the United States and, to a lesser extent, under its closest allies. Russia has already entered this market for a long time. And at the moment it holds strong positions in countries such as Cuba, Venezuela (where not only our weapons, but our military and "Russian military specialists" from various PMCs are present tightly), Nicaragua, as well as Brazil, Mexico and a number of other countries ... But such a large country as Argentina is practically not covered by our Rosoboronexport.
And it cannot be said that there were no attempts - there were. About 10 years ago, 3 Mi-171E helicopters in the SAR version were sold to Argentina (rescue, in particular, additional tanks, equipment for flying over the sea, inflatable ballonets on the chassis). There were other intentions, but they did not lead to anything.
Fashionista at the helm
Then Argentina was ruled by the Peronist Cristina Elizabeth Fernandez de Kirchner, who became president after her husband, who soon died. A very unusual figure for the politics of the region. In her youth, she is a very interesting woman, who has not lost her charm both in mature and in "overripe" age, "most of all loving politics and expensive shops", according to her ("and also plastic surgery" - the Argentines are joking). Emotional, impulsive, but at the same time very cunning and calculating, like a politician.
She, in view of her striving for a position as independent from the United States as possible, has developed good relations with the Russian leadership, in particular, with V. V. Putin. Some Western media still tried to joke that “they found each other” - Putin likes to keep himself waiting, as the leader of a great nuclear power, and Kirchner is always late because he chooses makeup, jewelry and outfits, and in general, being late is the norm for a woman.
Under Christina Fernandez Kirchner, relations with Great Britain around the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands have once again worsened. First, because of the British exploration around the islands. It has long and stubbornly been asserted that there are "huge" reserves of oil and gas, but huge ones have not yet been discovered - there have been statements about the discovery of an oil field, but something has not yet grown up oil rigs. Then the British, seeking to confirm their, frankly, dubious sovereignty, held a referendum among all the several thousand British living on the islands, who, of course, voted "for" British sovereignty over the archipelago. Kirchner then spoke in the spirit that “when Russia holds a referendum in the centuries of its Crimea, and millions of locals vote“ for ”it is illegitimate. And when the British vote among a handful of descendants of immigrants from Britain, everything is fine. " Of course, dona Cristina is different, you have to understand! Any Russian liberal "with a good face", something like Gozman's, will explain to you!
Argentina then tried to buy 2 squadrons of Swedish Gripen fighters, 24 aircraft. But the British, producing a number of units for it, blocked the deal. Then Kirchner decided to buy or lease in Russia 12 or 24 Su-24M bombers, which scared the British much more than the Gripenes. "Rasp", as our Su-24M aviators have long been called, is a more than serious plane. And he proved it once again in Syria, although история with an attempt to lease began even before our entry into the war in the SAR. And this machine is exceptionally striking, and it is not difficult to guess where their main goal is (no, of course, the Argentines and the Chileans had problems, but mostly in the past). In London, we figured out the radius, including at extremely low altitudes, looked at a set of weapons, such as long-range anti-radar missiles Kh-58U / USh, Kh-31A / P / AD / PD, and, especially, tactical KR Kh-59MK with a range of slightly less than 300 km - and they really did not like it. We conducted exercises in the area of the islands, temporarily deployed several Typhoon fighters there. In general, they tried to demonstrate the power, although with the naval power of the British, everything is now completely different from 40 years ago, and at that time there was not even a relatively combat-ready aircraft carrier.
Ultimately, the Su-24M deal fell through, along with Kirchner's dismissal through impeachment. As they say, inspired by pro-American circles - then in Washington they decided that they had lost too much influence south of their border. And they took a number of countermeasures that led to changes in Argentina, Ecuador, Brazil. They tried with Venezuela and Nicaragua - but completely disgraced themselves. And with Ecuador, as we can see, it also "turned out badly" in the end. They tried to put Christina Kirchner behind bars, but all the processes and accusations did not lead to anything in the end, and she came to power again, this time in the role of vice president under President Alberto Fernandez, who is with her husband and herself was the prime minister. Such a "castling" came out. And they say that Christina rules through her former prime minister, although this is not so important. In general, of course, she is a strong-willed woman who overcame the death of her husband, the fight against cancer, impeachment, courts and remains at the pinnacle of power in a very problematic country.
For the first time since the military junta, the army was remembered
What is important is that the current leadership has understood that following in line with the "valuable instructions" of the IMF leads even a rich country to a complete Ukraine. But Argentina is not rich, and has an external debt of $ 100 billion, and half of it is payment for the phony “Argentine miracle” (remember, maybe in the 90s we were lied to about it), that is, the debt of the IMF. Kirchner said last February that the country would not pay more “half a cent” to the IMF until it emerged from the recession. But, I must say, it remains unknown whether they really gave up paying their debts? There was a coronavirus in the world, and they could simply not pay attention to this.
Also Buenos Aires finally remembered that it has an army. I looked at it and realized that the austerity regime led to the fact that it would soon have to be created again from scratch. And, as they say there, in the modern world, power is becoming more and more necessary. This country is, of course, extremely far from even regional strength, but something has to be done, nevertheless.
Some measures are already being taken now, such as organizing the repair of equipment that can be repaired on their own, work on the repair and expansion of air bases and lengthening the runways on them, etc. The Boeing B737-700 was purchased for military transportation within the country and abroad, the restoration of the Hercules fleet C-130H and H-30, the modernization of 24 Skyhawk A-4 attack aircraft, and IA-63 training aircraft of local production "Pampa" and the purchase of 16 more such machines. And also the modernization of the fleet of anti-guerrilla twin-engine attack aircraft IA-58 "Pukara" under the "Pukara-Phoenix" program, which includes the replacement of engines, avionics, weapons. The first two Pukars are currently being converted into this version for testing.
Assembly of the first prototype IA-58M "Pukara-Phoenix" with new Pratt & Whitney PT6A-62 engines and other new equipment
Among the urgent measures in which Russia is interested, in particular, is the renewal of the helicopter fleet. It is planned, in addition to organizing the overhaul of those three rescue Mi-171Es, to buy in Russia 5 more (3, then 2 more) similar vehicles for use with similar purposes. This contract is already, as reported by the Argentinean media and blogs (it is sometimes more difficult to find information on export contracts here than on deliveries to the RF Armed Forces - they are afraid of meanness from the United States, of course) is being signed.
By the way, with the organization of the overhaul of those three helicopters, not everything is going smoothly - due to the effect of coronavirus restrictions, the process is being delayed. Also, the Argentines expect to replenish their fleet of "more than 20-30" (exactly 20 for the ground forces and at least 20 more vehicles for the Air Force) with transport-assault helicopters, and in this capacity they are considering the Mi-171SH. Russia proposes organizing the assembly of these machines from car kits, organizing a service center that will service cars in the region (that is, opportunities to earn money) and other benefits. But these are, in general, standard mechanisms for working with clients. There is also interest in the Mi-35M2 strike.
Russia has also reportedly offered Argentina the purchase of a couple of dozen MiG-29M / M2 multifunctional light export fighters or MiG-35 and MiG-35D. Argentines have been trying to acquire new combat aircraft for a long time, but, as they say, "the Englishwoman shits." Today's Britain, of course, is not even a shadow of its past, but a piece of a shadow. But Argentina is already in a position to shit, which is what it is doing.
Buenos Aires tried to acquire the "supposedly combat" combat trainer FA-50 from South Korea (an extremely dubious option, which they decide either out of greed or despair, like the Philippines). But London blocked the deal because these planes also had British units. The same story was with the Italian "brother" of our Yak-130, M-346 "Master" - again the British interfered, although what they did not please the completely toothless and positioned, unlike the older Russian brother, as a pure "trainer", M- 346 is hard to say. Probably, they just could have done nasty things - and they did.
Some Argentinean media are lobbying for "a real combat aircraft, which will not be ashamed for a long time" - this is "Gripen-NG", they say, the Brazilians bought, we also need one. Of course, this is also not the best option, and it will be blocked again. There were options to buy, one might say, from the dump of the Israeli "Kfirs", but they are already pouring sand no less than from the "Skyhawks". Used French "Mirage-2000-5" - London again appears on the horizon and persuades Paris to refuse, because the "Mirage" has a good set of strike weapons, and on the "stolen islands" there is no normal air defense. In general, Buenos Aires became interested in the Sino-Pakistani JF-17 with Russian engines. But they are confused by the capabilities of the aircraft and the notorious quality.
Remains Russia and MiGs - we deeply do not give a damn about London's opinion, and we will not miss the opportunity to make it "nice". Moreover, the Russian ambassador to Argentina a couple of years ago quite openly supported the country's claims to the disputed islands, it is clear that under the sauce of a "diplomatic struggle for the return of sovereignty."
Considering the first version of the MiG-29SMT, the Argentines are now more inclined towards much more modern versions of the MiG. Fighters of the Su brand, obviously, are considered too expensive and heavy for a poor country, although they would be much more suitable in terms of range - Argentina is rather big. There was no talk of renting or buying the Su-24M yet, but you never know - will it still surface?
Russia offers the Argentine Armed Forces modern air defense systems, however, what the nomenclature is - the Argentines have not yet reported. We are interested there and in Russian-made electronic warfare systems and radars of various types.
Argentina is also very interested in Russian drones, starting with small Tachyon-type vehicles. They were especially interested in the Orlan-10E, and, probably, the export version of the new Orlan-30. Moreover, they are interested in the fact that the Orlans carry a huge set of reconnaissance equipment - visual, thermal imaging reconnaissance, electronic reconnaissance, jamming transmitters, target designation equipment and even light strike capabilities, which were actually implemented on the Orlans for a long time. As the Argentinean publications write, “Orlan” is well spoken of by “the military campaigns in Syria and Libya. They like the low price, simplicity, reliability, proven "Orlan", resistance to interference and even the ability to control it, including through cellular 3G / 4G communication systems, which is apparently important for the country's poor army. We are also interested there in the newest serial Orion-E (Paceman), but so far - at the level of dreams.
Armored vehicles and everything else
For the Argentine army, the issue of replacing armored vehicles is ripe. But if the question with the replacement tank TAM (which the Argentines themselves consider the average, but made on the basis of the Marder BMP, it is clearly light) is not yet on the agenda - no money has been given for this yet. Replacing self-propelled anti-tank guns SK-105 "Cuirassier" is on the agenda, but there is nothing to replace them with. But there is already a competition to replace the M113 type armored personnel carriers and a number of other obsolete armored vehicles in the army and marines. The choice will soon be made between the VCBR 6 × 6 Guarani, developed by IVECO and manufactured in Brazil; 8x8 Stryker M1126, American, of course, from GDLS; Chinese 8x8 VN-1 (export version ZBL-09) from NORINCO and our armored personnel carriers.
Russia offers a choice of either the BTR-80A, or the BTR-82A, or the more advanced BTR-82AT with a thermal imaging sight and attached armor, as well as the commander's BTR-80K and BREM-80K. The initial batch may be just over 30 vehicles, with the purchase of the next batch of approximately the same size, although the final volume of deliveries has not yet been determined. More precisely, it is planned to re-equip 3 mechanized brigades, the 9th, 10th and 11th, based in Patagonia and La Pampa, each of them requires from 200 to 300 (some strange state of the brigades, it looks more like a division ) vehicles, and 50 for the Marine Corps, which means an order from 650 to 950 vehicles, but here the country has enough money. Potentially, the chunk is quite "fatty and tasty", but it is possible that the steak will turn out to be made from soy and for vegans.
Recently, the Argentines are more inclined towards our proposal. The fact is that the Guarani, which, by and large, does not correspond to the terms of reference of the army of the country, which only wants 8x8, and the Stryker are too expensive, and even with their cross-country ability, especially the latter, they are so-so. The Chinese are cheap, about the level of our machines, but not too positive experience of operating them in the Venezuelan marines goes against him, as they somehow learned in Argentina. The Russian car has been tested in many wars. And the good indicators of the survivability of the BTR-82A during the recent episodes in Syria, also in Argentina, caused a response. In addition, I like equipping the car with a 30 mm cannon and a grenade launcher, which other participants do not offer (and if they do, the price tag will be completely, completely different). By the end of summer 2021, the results of the tender will become known.
Interesting Argentines and "Tigers-M", and a number of other wheeled armored vehicles of our production. Although there are high chances and the Brazilian licensed version of the well-known IVEKO "Lynx", which is in service in a dozen countries, including Russia. In general, as you know, in the arms business, a lot is solved through political pressure and banal corruption. So it is not known who and what will choose in the end.
One of the most "costly" proposals of the Russian defense industry complex for Buenos Aires was made for fleet... Or rather, for the submarine forces of the country's Navy. After the tragic loss of the submarine "San Juan" 3 years ago, in the search for which our reconnaissance and hydrographic ship GUGI Navy Yantar took part (it is, of course, officially hydrographic, but few people in the world believe in it), about which Argentina is well remembered.
The San Juan sistership, the TR1700 Santa Cruz, built in the mid 80s, needs to be replaced. And the boat of Project 209, built in 1973, "Salte" - and even more so. "Salta" is in reserve and is unlikely to get out of there. And "Santa Cruz" is under repair, but it is not clear whether it will ever be finished or not.
Russia offers Argentina to build a pair of the latest Amur-class submarines (export Lada pr.677 or in a modernized form - 06771) in a modification as close as possible to the Lada itself - Amur-1650. Obviously, small projects of submarines such as "Amur-950" and P-750E are unlikely to interest the country - they have an ocean, not seas and bays.
The offer is interesting, but also not cheap. And whether Buenos Aires will find money for it is a question. For the rest of the above, there would be at least. And for a long time there were a lot of production problems with the Ladas themselves. And only recently the question has moved off dead center in the right direction.
Russia also offers the country small combat boats, including the BK-10 and BK-16 assault boats from the Kalashnikov Concern. Moreover, both with boats and boats, it is proposed to arrange their assembly at national shipyards. Local shipyards have experience in assembling submarines, however, very old. But, as already mentioned, it is somehow hard to believe in a quick purchase of boats.
What will you pay with?
Argentine bloggers are also wondering, they say, how to pay for supplies of the same Russia?
And they find answers - concessions and licenses for the development of natural resources, which the country is not deprived of. For example, uranium ores or hydrocarbons. Except, of course, real money and, probably, loans.
And there are also rumors that, among other things, a basing point or PMTO of the fleet along with the airfield may be offered to pay for supplies to Russia. These are, of course, only rumors that have not been confirmed by anything. But, if you look, on the way to Antarctica, the Russian fleet needs something similar. And then suddenly again at the "Sevmorput" the propeller blade will break, and the ports of the nuclear ship will not be allowed in different countries suffering from neurasthenia.
And in light of the likely claims in the future of a number of states to revise the status of Antarctica, it will not be superfluous either. There are, of course, some plans for South Africa. Yes, and in Angola, our warships and planes are ready to receive. But this is from a completely different side of Antarctica.
Time will tell what will come out of this "Argentine tango" for Russia around the supply of weapons to this country.