Even after the export model of the J-10 was made available in the fighter jet market, the JF-17’s poor export sales are causing China’s fighter export market to continue its downward trend.
According to the most recent media sources, China has agreed to accept more than 50% of its payment for the JF-17 planes in beef export from Argentina and has also committed to extend a long credit line in order to secure orders from Argentina.
The most recent JF-17 block-III fighter jets were tested by an Argentinian delegation, who were less than impressed with the jet’s capabilities. They also requested local upgrades to the jet as well as local assembly of the jet so that some of the systems could be replaced.
Argentina wants many additional changes to the JF-17 Block-III jet since it won’t be able to take on more advanced 4.5 gen fighters in its current configuration. China has already agreed to remove British-made ejection seats from the aircraft.
The Argentinean production plant will help the Chinese establish a foothold and increase the jet’s export potential in South American markets including Cuba, Chile, and Venezuela. The majority of the parts and airframe for the Argentine assembly line will come in CKD Kit form from already established facilities in China and Pakistan. This is because the Argentine assembly line is unimpressed with Block-III and wants more customization using local and Chinese technology.
The Myanmar Air Force, the second-largest JF-17 operator after Pakistan, had to ground some of its aircraft due to a shortage of spare parts and other aircraft due to persistent technical problems that the local ground crew was unable to fix. A Pakistani team from PAC and PAF was sent at China’s request to fix the grounded aircraft and assist in the installation of Ground simulators to enhance pilot training.
The Tejas Mk1A from India is also being offered to Argentina without British-made systems and components, however because to the Argentinean government’s unstable economy and the lax payment terms demanded, there is a substantial chance of default and payment in barter may be the only option. Twelve previously decommissioned secondhand F-16s from the Danish Air Force—original F-16A/B types that Lockheed has now modified to MLU15—have also been offered to Argentina.