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What Is the Super Etendard Aircraft and Can Outdated Argentine Planes Strengthen Ukraine?

Super Etendard attack aircraft / Open source photo
Super Etendard attack aircraft / Open source photo

The Argentine government intends to transfer five Super Etendard carrier-based attack aircraft to Ukraine

The Argentine publication Infobae reports on the plan to strengthen the Armed Forces of Ukraine with these aircraft, noting that it has already received support from the government and President Javier Milei.

Argentina is not compromising its defense capability, as all Super Etendards were retired in 2023. The history of these aircraft is directly tied to the Falklands War.

Read more: ​Mirage 2000-5: What the French Fighter Can and Cannot Do, A Sober Glance Without Exaggeration

The discussion concerns a carrier aircraft from Dassault, classified either as a fighter-bomber or an attack aircraft. It was created in the early 1970s based on the Etendard IV, which was designed in the 1950s and entered service in the 1960s.

Etendard IV, Defense Express
Etendard IV / Open source photo

Therefore, the Super Etendard is a classic representative of aviation from the early 1960s, with a non-afterburning Snecma Atar 9K-50 engine producing 49 kN, which enabled supersonic speeds up to 1205 km/h.

The aircraft has a wing span of 9.6 meters, with a maximum takeoff weight of 12,000 kg (empty weight 6,500 kg), and a maximum useful load of 2,100 kg at 6 suspension points.

Super Etendard attack aircraft, Defense Express
Super Etendard attack aircraft / Open source photo

The aircraft's primary specialization was the destruction of enemy ships.

It should be noted that the five modernized Super Etendard carrier-based attack aircraft have received a new radar system, Anemone, which has increased the detection range of maritime targets to 200 km. They also received an electronic warfare system, an updated navigation system, and an optical targeting station for the use of the high-precision weapon Damocles.

Super Etendard Modernise
Super Etendard Modernise / Open source photo

It is worth adding that in France, the Super Etendard Modernise aircraft flew until 2016 before being replaced by the Rafale M.

And against this backdrop, one can pose a rather pragmatic question: are five Super Etendards worth introducing as another type of aircraft into the Ukrainian Air Force?

Given the current shortage of pilots and technicians, as well as the logical desire to avoid creating a diverse fleet of aircraft.

This is especially pertinent considering the promised 2000-5, which are indeed multifunctional fighters. Additionally, in a situation where even the Gripen has been postponed due to a focus on the F-16, the notion of transforming the Super Etendard into a 4+ generation aircraft appears not very effective.

Read more: How Can Mirage 2000-5 Fighters Be Modernized to the Fullest Extent, and Is It Worthwhile?