A-4AR Fightinghawk


The Lockheed Martin A-4AR Fightinghawk is a major upgrade of the
McDonnell Douglas McDonnell Douglas was a major American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the U ...
A-4M Skyhawk attack aircraft developed for the
Argentine Air Force "Argentine Wings" , mascot = , anniversaries = 10 August (anniversary) 1 May (Baptism of fire during the Falklands War) , equipment = 139 aircraft , equipment_label = , battles = * Operativo Independencia Operativo Independencia ("Oper ...
which entered service in 1998. The program was named ''Fightinghawk'' in recognition of the
F-16 Fighting Falcon The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a single-engine multirole A multirole combat aircraft (MRCA) is a combat aircraft intended to perform different roles in combat. A multirole fighter is a multirole combat aircraft which is, at the ...

F-16 Fighting Falcon
, which was the source of its new avionics.

Design and development


Falklands War The Falklands War ( es , link=no, Guerra de las Malvinas) was a ten-week undeclared war An undeclared war is military conflict War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or para ...
in 1982 took a heavy toll on the
Argentine Air Force "Argentine Wings" , mascot = , anniversaries = 10 August (anniversary) 1 May (Baptism of fire during the Falklands War) , equipment = 139 aircraft , equipment_label = , battles = * Operativo Independencia Operativo Independencia ("Oper ...
, which lost over 60 aircraft. The supply of modern combat aircraft had been restricted since the United States had imposed an
arms embargoAn arms embargo is a restriction or a set of sanctions that applies either solely to weaponry or also to " dual-use technology." An arms embargo may serve one or more purposes: * to signal disapproval of the behavior of a certain actor * to maintain ...
in 1978 for human rights abuses; there were further restrictions when the United Kingdom also imposed an
arms embargoAn arms embargo is a restriction or a set of sanctions that applies either solely to weaponry or also to " dual-use technology." An arms embargo may serve one or more purposes: * to signal disapproval of the behavior of a certain actor * to maintain ...
in 1982. The only combat aircraft that the Air Force could obtain were 10 Mirage 5Ps transferred from the
Peruvian Air Force The Peruvian Air Force ( es, link=no, Fuerza Aérea del Perú, FAP) is the branch of the Peruvian Armed Forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. ...
, 19
Six-Day War The Six-Day War (; ar, النكسة, translit=an-Naksah, lit=The Setback or ), also known as the June War, the 1967 Arab–Israeli War or the Third Arab–Israeli War, was an armed conflict fought from 5 to 10 June 1967 between Israel ...
veteran Mirage IIICJs from
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...
, and 2 Mirage IIIB trainers from the
French Air Force The French Air and Space Force (AAE) (french: Armée de l'Air et de l'Espace, ) is the air force, air and space force of the French Armed Forces. It was formed in 1909 as the , a service arm of the French Army, and then made an independent milita ...
. In 1989,
Carlos Menem Carlos Saúl Menem (2 July 1930 – 14 February 2021) was an Argentine lawyer and politician who served as the 44th president of Argentina from 1989 to 1999. He was also a Argentine Senate, Senator for La Rioja Province, Argentina, La Rioja Prov ...

Carlos Menem
was elected
President of Argentina The President of Argentina ( es, Presidente de Argentina), officially known as the President of the Argentine Nation ( es, Presidente de la Nación Argentina), is both head of state and head of government of Argentina. Under Constitution of Ar ...
and quickly established a pro-United States foreign policy which led to the country gaining
Major non-NATO ally Major non-NATO ally (MNNA) is a designation given by the United States government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government) is the national government of the United States The United States of America ...
status. Although the economic situation improved, the funds to purchase new combat aircraft like the
Mirage 2000 The Dassault Mirage 2000 is a French multirole, single-engine, fourth-generation jet fighter manufactured by Dassault Aviation. It was designed in the late 1970s as a lightweight fighter to replace the Mirage III for the French Air Force (''Arm ...
remained unavailable. In 1994, the United States made a counteroffer to modernize 36 former United States Marine Corps, US Marine Corps A-4M Skyhawks in a US$282 million deal that would be carried out by Lockheed Martin and included the privatization of the Lockheed Martin Aircraft Argentina, Fabrica Militar de Aviones (Military Aircraft Factory), which was renamed Lockheed Martin Aircraft Argentina SA afterward. In 2010, FMA reverted to the Argentine government as Fabrica Argentina de Aviones (FADEA).


Argentine Air Force technicians chose 32 A-4M (built between 1970/1976) and 4 TA-4F airframes from the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona to upgrade. The upgrade plans included: * Complete overhaul of the airframe, Cable harness, wiring looms and the Pratt & Whitney Pratt & Whitney J52, J52P-408A engine * Installation of McDonnell Douglas, Douglas Escapac 1-G3 ejection seats * HGU-55/P Fighter pilot helmet, helmets * Honeywell Normal Air-Garrett AiResearch, Garrett's OBOGS (On Board Oxygen Generation System) * Westinghouse Electronic Systems, Westinghouse/Northrop Grumman AN/APG-66, AN/APG-66V2 (ARG-1) radar * HOTAS controls and a 'glass' cockpit (2 CRT color screens) * Sextant Avionique/Thales Avionics Head-up display, SHUD * Litton/Northrop Grumman LN-100G inertial navigation system * MIL-STD-1553, MIL-STD-1553B data bus * Two General Dynamics, General Dynamics Information Systems AN/AYK-14 mission computers * Northrop Grumman AN/ALR-93 (V)1 Radar warning receiver * AN/ALQ-126B Radar jamming, jammer * AN/ALQ-162 Radar jamming, jammer * ALR-47 Chaff (radar countermeasure), chaff/flare dispenser * AN/APX-72 Identification, friend or foe, IFF The A-4Ms were equipped with the TV and laser spot tracker Hughes AN/ASB-19 Angle Rate Bombing System, but this was removed after the conversion into A-4ARs, as the radar could provide the same data. The contract stipulated that 8 airframes would be refurbished at the Lockheed-Martin Plant in Palmdale, California and the rest (27) in Córdoba, Argentina at LMAASA. At least ten TA-4J and A-4M airframes for use as spare parts, eight additional engines, and a new A-4AR Flight simulator, simulator were also delivered.

Operational history

The Fightinghawks, having received Air Force serials C-901 to C-936, saw their first group arrive in Argentina on 18 December 1997 and the first "Argentine" A-4AR was rolled out on 3 August 1998 at Cordoba. The last one, number 936, was delivered to the Air Force in March 2000. Two aircraft (a one-seat and a two-seat) remained some time in the United States for weapons homologation. All of the A-4ARs were delivered to the 5th Air Brigade (''V Brigada Aérea'') at Villa Reynolds, San Luis Province, where they replaced two squadrons of Falklands/Malvinas veteran A-4P (locally known as A-4B) and A-4C. They were soon deployed in rotation around the country from Rio Gallegos in the south to Resistencia, Chaco, Resistencia in the north where they were used to intercept smugglers and drug trafficking airplanes. In September 1998, just months after their arrival and again in April 2001, United States Air Force F-16s visited Villa Reynolds for the ''Southern Falcon'' joint exercise, known as ''Aguila'' (Spanish for Eagle) in Argentina. In 2004, the A-4ARs went abroad for the joint exercise ''Cruzex'', along with Brazilian Air Force, Brazilian F-5s and Mirages, Military of Venezuela, Venezuelan F-16s and French Mirage 2000s. In November 2005 they were deployed to Tandil airbase to enforce a no-fly zone for the Mar del Plata Summit of the Americas and later met Military of Chile, Chilean Dassault Mirage 5, Mirage Elkans, Brazilian AMXs and Uruguayan Air Force, Uruguayan A-37 Dragonfly, A-37 at Mendoza, Argentina, Mendoza for the joint exercise ''Ceibo''. In July 2006 they were deployed to Córdoba Province (Argentina), Cordoba province for the Mercosur's 30th Presidents Summit, while in August and September they went north again to Brazil for the ''Cruzex III'' joint exercise with Brazil, Chile, France, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. In June 2008 they were deployed to Tucumán province for the Mercosur's Presidents Summit. In August 2009 they were deployed to San Carlos de Bariloche, Bariloche for the UNASUR Presidents summit. Later that month they participated at Reconquista, Santa Fe of the ''Pre-Salitre'' official video
/sup> an exercise of preparation for the ''Salitre II'' oficial video
/sup> of next October in Chile with Chile, Brazil, France and the United States. On 1 May 2010 they participated in the Air Fest 2010 show at Morón Airport and Air Base.video
/sup> On 25 May 2010 three A-4AR flew over the 9 de Julio Avenue at Buenos Aires as part of the Argentina Bicentennial shows. In August 2010, the aircraft enforced a no-fly zone at San Juan, Argentina, San Juan for the Mercosur's Presidents Summit. On September they joined the rest of the air force aircraft at Reconquista, Santa Fe for the ''ICARO III'' integration manoeuvers. On November they deployed to Tandil airbase for the XX Ibero-American Summit held at Mar del Plata. In January 2016, Argentine Minister of Defence Julio Martinez confirmed that all Air Force Lockheed Martin A-4AR Skyhawk (Fightinghawk) fighters were grounded. Originally this was due to the expiry of the explosive cartridges in their ejection seats, but later it became apparent that there were additional problems. Only 4-5 were found airworthy with the rest in storage at Villa Reynolds Airport, Villa Reynolds. In May 2017, they participated in the celebrations of the 2017 anniversary of the May Revolution. By 2020, as few as six of the aircraft were still reported as operational.


;A-4AR : 32 converted from A-4Ms ;OA-4AR : 4 converted from TA-4Fs


; *
Argentine Air Force "Argentine Wings" , mascot = , anniversaries = 10 August (anniversary) 1 May (Baptism of fire during the Falklands War) , equipment = 139 aircraft , equipment_label = , battles = * Operativo Independencia Operativo Independencia ("Oper ...
- 36 received (32 A-4AR, 4 OA-4AR); as few as 6 reported operational in 2020.


four of the type have been lost in 20 years of service: * 6 July 2005: A-4AR registration C-906 near Justo Daract, San Luis Province, pilot Lt Horacio Martín Flores (29 years old) died. * 24 August 2005: A-4AR registration C-936 near Río Cuarto, Córdoba, Río Cuarto, Cordoba, pilot ejected safely. * 14 February 2013: OA-4AR registration C-902 crashed on landing at Vicecomodoro Ángel de la Paz Aragonés Airport, Angel Aragonés airport near Santiago del Estero, both pilots ejected safely. * 5 August 2020: A-4AR registration C-925 near Villa Reynolds, San Luís, pilot Cpt Gonzalo Fabián Britos Venturini ejected but was found dead.

Specifications (A-4AR Fightinghawk)

See also


External links

Argentine Air Force

''El programa A-4AR avanza'' *

''Halcones al Sur, llegan los A-4AR'' *
La Nacion newspaper 1997
''Nuevos aviones para la Fuerza Aérea'' *
La Nacion newspaper 1998
''Ejercicio militar con los EE.UU'' *
La Nacion newspaper 1998
''Aviones argentinos interceptarán aeronaves norteamericanas'' *
La Nacion newspaper 2005
''Habilitan un puente aéreo con EE.UU.'' *

{{Lockheed aircraft Lockheed Martin aircraft, A-004AR 1990s Argentine attack aircraft Single-engined jet aircraft Low-wing aircraft Douglas A-4 Skyhawk, A-4AR Aircraft first flown in 1997