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Danish F-16s: Ukraine or Argentina?

Written by: Miguel Reyes Castro

Edited by: Piotr Kosik

Supervised by: Ginevra Bertamini

In mid-2023, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway pledged to train Ukrainian pilots and donate several F-16s to help Ukraine defend itself against the ongoing Russian invasion (Breaking Defence, 2023; Dubois, 2023). More recently, the US Congress approved the transfer of 24 Royal Danish Air Force F-16s to Argentina after White House pressure, in a deal reportedly worth $338 million (Segovia, 2023). However, while this development contradicts the recent Western pledge to support Ukraine, by apparently deviating to another country the Danish planes publicly earmarked for Kyiv, it will be argued that they do not conflict because of equal geopolitical priorities and, thus, can mutually complement.

Accordingly, this paper sheds light on the motives for such moves, especially considering their geopolitical and strategic implications. More specifically, it will explore the competing geopolitical factors behind the rationale for having F-16s potentially sent to Argentina. In doing so, it will not only examine whether the potential provision of F-16s to Buenos Aires will affect the Western commitments to Kyiv. However, it will also delve into the implications for the South American nation regarding interoperability with NATO and the EU countries.