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A-4AR Fightinghawk
An A-4AR during Air Fest 2010
Role Ground attack fighter
Manufacturer Lockheed Martin Aircraft Argentina SA
First flight December 1997
Introduction December 1997
Status In service
Primary user Argentine Air Force
Produced 1996–1999
Number built 36 converted
Developed from A-4M Skyhawk

The Lockheed Martin A-4AR Fightinghawk is a major upgrade of the McDonnell Douglas A-4M Skyhawk attack aircraft developed for the Argentine Air Force which entered service in 1998. The program was named Fightinghawk in recognition of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, which was the source of its new avionics.

Design and development


The Falklands War in 1982 took a heavy toll on the Argentine Air Force, which lost over 60 aircraft.[citation needed]

The supply of modern combat aircraft had been restricted since the United States had imposed an arms embargo in 1978 for human rights abuses;[1] there were further restrictions when the United Kingdom also imposed an arms embargo in 1982. The only combat aircraft that the Air Force could obtain were 10 Mirage 5Ps transferred from the Peruvian Air Force, 19 Six-Day War veteran Mirage IIICJs from Israel, and 2 Mirage IIIB trainers from the French Air Force.[citation needed]

In 1989, Carlos Menem was elected President of Argentina and quickly established a pro-United States foreign policy which led to the country gaining Major non-NATO ally status.[2] Although the economic situation improved, the funds to purchase new combat aircraft like the Mirage 2000 remained unavailable.[citation needed]

In 1994, the United States made a counteroffer to modernize 36 former 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 Fabrica Militar de Aviones (Military Aircraft Factory – FMA), which was renamed Lockheed Martin Aircraft Argentina SA (LMAASA) afterward.[citation needed] In 2010, LMAASA reverted to the Argentine government as Fabrica Argentina de Aviones (FADEA).[3][4]


Argentine Air Force technicians chose 32 A-4M (built between 1970/1976)[5][6] and 4 TA-4F[7] airframes from the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona to upgrade. The upgrade plans included:[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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 simulator were also delivered.[citation needed]

Operational history

Overflying the Obelisk of Buenos Aires during the Argentina Bicentennial

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 in the north where they were used to intercept smugglers and drug trafficking airplanes.[citation needed]

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 F-5s and Mirages, Venezuelan F-16s and French Mirage 2000s.[citation needed]

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 Chilean Mirage Elkans, Brazilian AMXs and Uruguayan A-37 at Mendoza for the joint exercise Ceibo.[citation needed]

In July 2006 they were deployed to 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.[citation needed]

In June 2008 they were deployed to Tucumán province for the Mercosur's Presidents Summit.[citation needed]

In August 2009 they were deployed to Bariloche for the UNASUR Presidents summit. Later that month they participated at Reconquista, Santa Fe of the Pre-Salitre official video an exercise of preparation for the Salitre II oficial video of next October in Chile with Chile, Brazil, France and the United States.[8][9]

On 1 May 2010 they participated in the Air Fest 2010 show at Morón Airport and Air On 25 May 2010 three A-4AR flew over the 9 de Julio Avenue at Buenos Aires as part of the Argentina Bicentennial shows.[10]

Fly by over the Del Libertador avenue in Buenos Aires, May 2017

In August 2010, the aircraft enforced a no-fly zone at 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.[11] On November they deployed to Tandil airbase for the XX Ibero-American Summit held at Mar del Plata.[citation needed]

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.[12] Only 4-5 were found airworthy with the rest in storage at Villa Reynolds.[13]

In May 2017, they participated in the celebrations of the 2017 anniversary of the May Revolution.[14]

By 2020, as few as six of the aircraft were still reported as operational.[15] In March 2024, Argentina signed a letter of intent with Denmark to acquire 24 used F-16 fighter aircraft as likely replacements for its Fightinghawks.[16]

Argentine Air Force McDonnell Douglas A-4AR Fightinghawk
Argentine Air Force McDonnell Douglas A-4AR Fightinghawk


32 converted from A-4Ms
4 converted from TA-4Fs


Argentina Air Force McDonnell Douglas A-4AR Fightinghawk.


As of August 2020 four of the type have been lost in 20 years of service:

Specifications (A-4AR Fightinghawk)

Orthographically projected diagram of the A-4 Skyhawk.
Orthographically projected diagram of the A-4 Skyhawk.

Data from FAA Official site and A-4 Skyhawk

General characteristics



See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists


  1. ^ backing the Humphrey-Kennedy amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1976, the Carter administration placed an embargo on the sale of arms and spare parts to Argentina and on the training of its military personnel
  2. ^ ... represents our recognition of the importance of Argentina's leadership and cooperation in the field ofinternational peacekeeping, notably during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, in Haiti, in its role in supervising the peace between Peru and Ecuador, and in nearly a dozen other international peacekeeping efforts ...
  3. ^ Back at the hands of the state
  4. ^ (in Spanish)Ministerio de Defensa – República Argentina Archived 2012-10-07 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Six A-4M batches Serials Archived 31 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Skyhawk Production History". Archived from the original on 31 March 2009. Retrieved 25 October 2009. C-905 = 159472, C-906 = 158161, C-907 = 158167, C-908 = 158178 C-909 = 158419, C-910 = 158193, C-911 = 158429, C-912 = 159471 C-913 = 159493, C-914 = 159778, C-915 = 159780, C-916 = 160029 C-917 = 158164, C-918 = 158423, C-919 = 158171, C-920 = 158426 C-921 = 159475, C-922 = 160045, C-923 = 159470, C-924 = 160025 C-925 = 158413, C-926 = 160032, C-927 = 160035, C-928 = 160039 C-929 = 160040, C-930 = 160042, C-931 = 160043, C-932 = 159478 C-933 = 159483, C-934 = 159486, C-935 = 159487, C-936 = 159783
  7. ^ Two seats C-901 BuNo 154328, C-902 BuNo 154294, C-903 BuNo 154651 & C-904 BuNo 153531 are TA-4F built airframes later converted to the OA-4M variant. On the contrary the single seats were originally built as A-4M Archived 30 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  8. '^ ejercicio pre salitre 2009 FAA site Archived 18 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ ""Airman Culture" key to exercise SALITRE success". Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
  10. '^ A-AR volando en el cielo del Bicentenario Perfil Blogs Archived 29 May 2010 at
  11. ^ FUERZA AÉREA REALIZA EJERCICIO ICARO III Archived 18 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Porfilio, Gabriel (28 January 2016). "Argentinian MoD confirms all fighters grounded". IHS Jane's Defence Weekly. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  13. ^ Aguilera, Edgardo (27 January 2016). "No queremos una Armada que no navegue ni una Fuerza Aérea que no vuele". Diario Ambito Financiero (in Spanish). Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  14. ^ "Veteranos de Malvinas fueron ovacionados durante el desfile por el aniversario del 25 de Mayo". Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  15. ^ "Argentine A-4AR fighter jet crashes near Cordoba, pilot dead". 6 August 2020.
  16. ^ "Denmark Signs Letter Of Intent For F-16 Sale To Argentina". Aviation Week. 26 March 2024. Retrieved 27 March 2024.
  17. ^ "Argentine A-4AR fighter jet crashes near Cordoba, pilot dead". 6 August 2020.
  18. ^ "Le remplacement des A-4AR Fightinghawk argentins plus que jamais d'actualité !". 16 November 2022.
  19. ^ "Accidentes aéreos en San Luis" Archived 27 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine (in Spanish)
  20. ^ "Se estrelló un A-4AR de la FAA" Archived 7 November 2005 at (in Spanish)
  21. ^ "Milagro en Santiago del Estero tras la caída de un avión de la Fuerza Aérea" (in Spanish). 14 February 2013. Archived from the original on 24 June 2018. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  22. ^ "Murió un piloto tras eyectarse de un avión de combate de la Fuerza Aérea" (in Spanish). 5 August 2020.
  23. ^ "A4 AR Fightinghawk". 21 February 2012.
  24. ^ "Proyecto Pragmalia: 117. Fabricación de Coheteras Mamboreta ARM 657A". 25 June 2009.