| BUENOS AIRES, March 28
BUENOS AIRES, March 28 Argentina has few funds
available to replace an outdated military fleet beyond buying 12
Beechraft Texan aircraft to train pilots, Defense Minister Julio
Martinez told Reuters on Tuesday.
Martinez said actual plans were more modest than those
reported by media in Argentina and Brazil in recent months,
which said the government was interested in buying war planes
from abroad, including from Brazil's Embraer or Mig
fighters from Russia.
"For now, we do not have much budget capacity," Martinez
said after an event commemorating the end of Argentina's latest
Antarctica mission. "We are only buying training aircraft, and
just a few, 12."
Argentina's center-right President Mauricio Macri has set an
ambitious goal to trim spending and narrow a budget deficit
after two terms of free-spending populism under leftist leader
Martinez did not say how much Argentina was spending on the
training planes, only acknowledging that the budget was "very
The Beechcraft Texan planes will help replace 24 Embraer
EMB-312 Tucanos that have been used in the air force training
school for decades. Beechcraft is a subsidiary of Textron Inc
making Beechcraft T -6C Texan II planes that are used
for training pilots in several countries.
"We will need 12 more, and then we need a lot of other
aircraft, medium-sized transport and other kinds of planes,"
A navy spokesman said in December Argentina was also in
talks to buy four C-205 aircraft manufactured by Europe's Airbus
Asked if Argentina would need new aircraft to achieve
Macri's goal of better patrolling borders with Paraguay and
Brazil to stop drug flights, Martinez said the training aircraft
could potentially also be used for that purpose.
Macri's government is also looking to restart manufacturing
at cash-strapped state-run aircraft producer Fadea, which was
previously operated by Lockheed Martin and nationalized
under Fernandez. Martinez confirmed a report by state-run news
agency Telam last week that said Fadea would manufacture three
Pampa training planes this year.
Martinez also said Argentina did not have any immediate
plans to purchase arms from abroad, denying statements on
Twitter from former President Fernandez who said on Monday that
Argentina sought to buy $2 billion of "sophisticated weapons of
war" from the United States.
"For now no, no arms," Martinez said.
(Reporting by Caroline Stauffer; editing by Grant McCool)