SANTIAGO, Chile — Argentina’s government has told lawmakers that it plans to spend about $684 million to procure new fighter jets and build related infrastructure reports US based defence portal DefenseNews.

The hunt for Argentina’s next fighter aircraft appears to be moving swiftly, with the government informing the parliamentarians about the budget it plans to spend on purchasing new fighter jets and constructing related infrastructure.

The South American country has also made known its requirements for its upcoming fighter aircraft. According to reports, the country’s air force plans to purchase a multirole fighter jet equipped with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, an in-flight refuelling system, a tactical data link, and an electronic warfare defensive suite, Eurasiantimes further reported.

The aircraft should not contain any British components, and the in-flight refuelling system should be interoperable with tanker aircraft currently in the inventory of the Argentine Air Force. However, the potential contract could be curtailed given the British embargo on arms sales to Argentina, which has so far frustrated a couple of deals, particularly for those aircraft with Baker's pilot ejector seat. Nevertheless, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the manufacturer of the fighter is making an effort to replace all British components of the TEJAS jet fighter, with Indian made components.

Argentina’s defence ministry mentioned that the aircraft with an open architecture would be required to incorporate armaments and equipment from any source. But, the fighter jet must not have any systems, subsystems, or components that are British made or designed.

Earlier ambassador Dinesh Bhatia met Brigadier General Xavier Isaac, Chief of Air Force of Argentina & discussed initiatives to further amplify bilateral engagements between India & Argentina in Defence Sector

The demand for the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) TEJAS in the world military market is increasing due to their unique features. As equivalent aircraft from other countries are expensive and require high-maintenance, TEJAS is gradually getting ready to thunder in the sky around the world. After Malaysia, Colombia and several other countries, now South American nation Argentina has shown interest in buying TEJAS. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar confirmed this during his visit to the country.

External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar acknowledged Argentine interest in the TEJAS fighter aircraft and highlighted the importance of the proposal in enhancing the strategic quotient of bilateral relationships. A joint press statement issued by both countries after the Joint Commission Meeting said, “EAM, acknowledging Argentine interest in the Made in India TEJAS fighter aircraft for Argentine Air Force, highlighted importance of the proposal in enhancing strategic quotient of the bilateral relationship.”

The responses provided to lawmakers also list the warplanes that have already been evaluated and are being considered as potential options. These include the JF-17, jointly manufactured by China and Pakistan, the F-16, built by the American company Lockheed Martin, the TEJAS, developed by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., and the Russian Mikoyan MiG-35.

However, it is still unclear who is actually in the race to clinch the prestigious fighter deal, whether it is India's TEJAS or China's JF-17.