Argentine Air Force to receive refurbished Super Etendard jets from France

The Argentine Air Force will soon receive five refurbished Dassault-Breguet Super Etendard (SEM) aircraft from France. The modernized aircraft were purchased in 2018 from retired surplus stocks of the French Navy for a total contract cost of approximately €13 million. The Super Etendard series was decommissioned from active French Naval service in 2016 and replaced with the Dassault Rafale Marine.

Argentine Air Force to receive refurbished Super Etendard jets from France Dassault-Breguet "Super Etendard" while still in service in the French navy (Picture source: Marine Nationale)

Although the Argentine Air Force has significant prior experience operating the Etendard series dating from its initial acquisition of the aircraft in the 1970s, its previous stocks were retired from service in 2013 owing to maintenance shortfalls derived from a lack of spare parts. The procurement of the five refurbished Etendards is therefore intended to restore some of this lost operational capacity to the Argentine Air Force. The contract also includes the acquisition of a flight simulator system and a supply of spare components and engines, ensuring the long-term operational sustainability of the newly procured aircraft.

The Super Etendard is an advanced development of the Étendard IVM, which it replaced. The Super Étendard first flew in October 1974 and entered French service in June 1978. French Super Étendards have served in several conflicts such as the Kosovo war, the war in Afghanistan and the military intervention in Libya.

The Super Étendard was also operated by Iraq (on a temporary lease) and Argentina, who both deployed the aircraft during wartime. The Super Étendard was used by Iraq to attack oil tankers and merchant shipping in the Persian Gulf during the Iraq-Iran War. Argentina's use of the Super Étendard and the Exocet missile during the 1982 Falklands War led to the aircraft gaining considerable popular recognition. In French service, the Super Étendard was replaced by the Dassault Rafale in 2016.