An explanation that circulated these days in military circles about the accident of August 5 that ended with the death of the captain Gonzalo Fabián Britos Venturini, when ejecting from his A4AR fighter-bomber while he was in training for group 5 of Hunting, is that the desire of the pilots to take care of the material, their plane in this case (the ejection obviously implies the destruction of the device) can lead them to make a late decision, even putting their own life at risk. Other aeronautical sources relativize this view: ejection is a decision that is made “in a fraction of a second” and although “one loves the machine very much, also know what the limit is”Said an official consulted.
However, the tragic accident that occurred last Wednesday had a profound impact on the force, and determined the suspension of all celebrations that were planned by the Air Force, for this August 10, in its 108th anniversary.
The fall of the A4AR once again exposed the dramatic situation of the Air Force material, which no longer has practically war planes. The Mirage, symbol of the Malvinas war, supersonic and therefore “interceptors” were “deprogrammed” (their useful life ended) in a very emotional ceremony in November 2015, when the skies of its base, the VI Air Brigade of Tandil, rose for the last time.
Are the A4ARs fit to fly? The Air Force says yes. But it is also true that its deprogramming was anticipated in 2016 for 2018. The macrista management in Defense then spoke almost of a decision of force majeure because the logistics chain for maintenance was “canceled”, and that there were only 3 operational aircraft at the time at its base in Villa Reynolds, in St. Louis.
But the same previous aeronautical headquarters of Brigadier General Enrique Amrein made the decision to postpone its useful life, faced with the impossibility of acquiring a weapon system to replace it. His successor, the current Chief Brigadier Xavier Isaac he kept his posture.
The recent accident does not change things. As they told Clarion sources of the force and the Ministry of Defense, led by Agustín Rossi, the deprogramming of the A4AR “is not in plans” for the moment. Additional reading, assumed by the sources themselves: there is no prospect of replacement or acquisition. The novelty these months of pandemic (in June) was the presidential authorization for Defense to acquire a Boeing 737 for the Air Force -which has been claiming it since at least 2006- for strategic passenger transport, justified in the needs of the emergency by Covid -19.
Regarding the A4AR, as reported at the beginning of the year by the specialized site Military area, the force had already shifted from deprogramming to the decision of a “budget effort” to put 10-12 A4ARs on the air again.
The looks are met. A senior former aeronautical chief said, consulted by Clarín, that “when the decision (to deprogram) is made, it is for a very justified reason and if there is a reversal the analysis is distorted, if it was said that after that date they could not fly anymore, for various reasons. reasons, from maintenance costs to security. In this case, the cost each year that passes is greater and more difficult and expensive to obtain spare parts ”.
Sources from the Condor Building told Clarion that “the country’s situation is not enough to acquire a new system. It is wrong to hold that a system is obsolete by the year of manufacture. With tours, inspections and re-engines, airplanes like the A4 can continue ”.
Although pilots are far from having the flight and training hours of a few decades ago, in the face of every accident in recent years, no one thinks of inexperience, but rather of maintenance problems due to the aging of the material: Yes, there is consensus among those consulted that the pilots would not fly if they were not sure that their aircraft are in good condition. “They are not suicidal. What can be said, when faced with an inconvenience, they always want to leave, they are proactive in trying to solve it together with the technical staff ”, explains a former aviator.
With decades of divestmentAfter some 70 aircraft were lost in Malvinas, the 36 A4ARs acquired in the 1990s were the last technological leap for the Force; In a country that is going from crisis to crisis and the time is never right to allocate enormous resources, the Air Force lost another of its few combat aircraft in this accident.
In the shortage administration, he has the IA 63 Pampa light attack vehicles produced at FADEA (the Córdoba Aircraft Factory), with advanced training; the 12 Texans acquired in the last four years for training at the Military Aviation school, and transport planes such as Lear Jet (in Paraná) and cargo planes such as the 5 Hercules C-13, which have been modernized.