To pay off the rather large debt to the Argentine government
accumulated by the UK during WW II a deal was struck late 1947 to
supply a serious number of airplanes to Argentina. Britain would
supply 50 ex RAF Meteors and 50 specifically produced for the
Argentine Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Argentina, FAA),
10 Avro Lancaster and 20 Avro Lincoln bombers and a whole bunch of
The transaction caused an uproar with the US Government but somehow
Attlee's socialist UK government bulldozed the deal through and the
first Meteors were delivered to the FAA in March 1948.
The FAA gave the Meteors the type designation 'I' (for
Interceptor). As no dual control Meteors had been included in the
deal, pilot training proved to be something of a problem. The
Argentine pilots selected to fly the jets had experience only on
Curtiss 75 Hawk propeller fighters. A scheme was devised whereby they
first learned to fly on Airspeed Oxfords (to learn dual engine
flight), then on to the DH-104 Dove (for tricycle landing gear
familiarization) and finally on to jets. Throughout the operational
history of the type you'll see a large number of accidents involving
collapse or other problems with the landing gear (...)
Only three times during their operational history have Argentine
Meteors fired shots in anger. The first time was during the
(unsuccessful) April 1955 uprising against Juan Peron. One of the
Meteors shot down a rebel AT-6 (whose pilot bailed out successfully).
During the September 1955 revolt, that swept away Juan Peron, they
came into action again, this time on both loyalist and rebel sides.
And the final time was during the 1962 political troubles.
In 1963 it was decided to buy F-86F's as interceptors and to
re-classify the Meteors as fighter-bombers. They were reserialed
'C' (for Caza) and re-sprayed in a camouflage pattern.
The Meteor's service life ended in 1970 when they were struck
off-charge after a final fly-past of 5 machines that were still
airworthy. They were replaced by F-86F Sabres, A-4D Skyhawks and
ultimately Dassault Mirages. Some 20 seem to remain around the
country as gate-guards and in museums.