Britain’s Refusal to Supply Ejection Seats forces Retirement of Argentine Super Etendard Fighters

  • Bureau
  • 06:28 AM, May 19, 2023
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Britain’s Refusal to Supply Ejection Seats forces Retirement of Argentine Super Etendard Fighters
Argentine Navy’s Dassault Super Etendard aircraft armed with Exocet missile @Armada Argentina

The bitter war fought between Argentina and the UK over Falkland Islands has forced the latter to retire its Super Etendard fighters over the former’s refusal to supply ejection seats for the aircraft.

Argentine Minister of Defense Jorge Taiana formally announced the retirement of both the original models purchased in 1979 and those acquired second-hand from France in 2019, earlier this week.

Five Dassault-Breguet Super Etendard Modernisés aircraft were bought by Argentina under a €12 million deal first announced in January 2018. Deliveries of the aircraft was completed in May 2020.

Argentina has been unable to acquire ejection seats for French jets due to sanctions from the UK, which has prevented it from buying weapons with British content since the end of the Falklands War in 1982.

Due to the embargo, the aircraft could not be delivered with their MK6 ejection seat manufactured by the British group Martin Baker. Three years later, the Argentinian authorities have finally given up on circumventing British sanctions.

“We had planned to recover them, so I went to speak with the [French] defense minister, who told me that they cannot be recovered, for two reasons,” Taiana explained during a press conference for the Day of the Argentine Navy on May 17. “Because of the seats, which the British did not give up, and because of a series of parts of the Super Etendard Modernisés that are now retired. Therefore they, who had initially seen the possibility of manufacturing the parts, say that they cannot make them.” 

The Modernisé version are the most up-to-date of the Super Étendard and served with the French Navy until 2016 operating aboard the nuclear aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. Later, the aircraft were replaced by the Rafale M, a naval version of the Dassault fighter.

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