Argentine Navy A-4Q 0655/3-A-202
Tri-Service

Israel Armed Argentina For Falklands War

Newly-declassified Foreign Office documents appear to support claims that Israel supplied arms to Argentina before, during and after the...

Argentine Navy A-4Q 0655/3-A-202
Newly-declassified Foreign Office documents appear to support claims that Israel supplied arms to Argentina before, during and after the Falklands War.
 
Despite being a key defence ally of the United Kingdom, the then government in Jerusalem is understood to have sanctioned the sale of weaponry to the Argentine military junta.
 
Among the shipments sent, allegedly via secret cargo flights via Peru, were parts for Skyhawk attack aircraft and possibly even the jets themselves.
 
 
In one memorandum, seen by the Telegraph newspaper, a high-ranking Foreign Office official states: "Israel was one of the few countries to supply Argentina with arms during the Falklands conflict and has continued to do so."
 
It adds that Israel was also intending to sell them surveillance aircraft. A sale that Sir Geoffrey Howe, then foreign secretary, personally asked Jerusalem not to undertake.
 
In the spring of 1982 Argentine Air Force Douglas A-4 Skyhawks were used to devastating effect against the British Taskforce and were involved in the sinking of four warships; the RFA Sir Galahad, HMS Coventry, HMS Ardent and HMS Antelope.
 
 
During the six week conflict however 22 of Argentina's 48 operating Skyhawks were lost. Royal Navy Sea Harriers claimed eight, while surface-to-air (SAM) missiles and crashes accounted for the rest.
 
Originally bought from the US during the 1960s and 70s, Argentina tried to rebuild its Skyhawk squadrons after the Falklands. In 1983 however Washington blocked the delivery by Israel of 24 of the attack aircraft for the Argentine Navy.
 
Argentina eventually retired the fleet in 1999 although many of the aircraft were preserved and can still be seen as gate guardians at military bases and in museums across the country.