Within the next 48 hours, the Defense ministers of Argentina and Guatemala will be signing the purchase of two IA-63 Pampa Serie III jet trainers. This two seat, single engine, advanced jet trainer provides a NVG compliant MIL SPEC full glass cockpit with a nav/attack suite. Is the third generation of the IA-63 Pampa trainer, designed at the late 1970 by a joint venture between FMA and Dornier.
This is to become the first export for the IA-63 Pampa and the first of FAdeA (then FMA or Fabrica Militar de Aviones) in over 25 years. Argentine Ministry of Defense has reported also ongoing talks with Bolivia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Paraguay.
According to what’s published by the newspaper Clarin, the 28 million USD agreement comprises two aircraft, with an option for three more, training for pilots, technicians, and related support equipment. Guatemalan personnel should start training in late July/early August. Argentine sources indicate that Guatemala is very interested in exercising the option when the defense budget becomes available.
Guatemalan media indicates that the IA-63 Serie III was competing with Aero’s L-39NG for this contract, in all, the L-39NG is a redesign of the L-39 Albatros with a new wing including fuel tanks, wet/dry hardpoints, a new Williams International FJ-44 engine and a CockpitNG suite provided by Israel Aircraft Industries. But the Aero aircraft is not completely ready since is still in its prototype stage and currently testing both avionics and weapons integration. This very last thing happened with another prospected competitor, Leonardo’s M-345HET, also under development and testing.
An interesting detail is Israel’s participation in at least two of the competitors, on 2016 when the Argentine Air Force was negotiating the purchase of 14 Kfir C10/12 fighter-bombers, Ministry of Defense officials intended to propose a marketing agreement for the IA-63 with IAI (of which is a subcontractor) but didn’t know or ignored the fact that IAI was already agreeing the development of the L-39NG with Aero Vodochody.
On the other hand, Bolivia, upon proposal of the argentine government to compensate deficit with the energy trade, was interested in acquiring the Pampa but was vetoed by Israel due to their conflicted relation and Bolivia’s links both with Venezuela and Iran.