Argentina still waits for its new Lightweight Multirole Fighter

The Argentine Air Force lost its last supersonic fighters in late 2015 when the Dassault Mirages were taken out of service. These, by then 40+ year old aircraft, some of them veteran of two wars, were pretty much obsolete and had lost much of its logistical support. Air Superiority after that was left to the subsonic A-4M Skyhawk II, extensively upgraded in early 1990s with new avionics, full glass cockpit and a much capable nav/attack suite. Still, the now dubbed A-4AR “Fightinghawks”, lack any actual air superiority capacity but hold a very respected performance within WVR combat envelopes. As many of you can recall, these aircraft were used as part of the, Hollywood immortalized, “Top Gun” U.S. Navy Fighter School.

Argentina struggles with its P-3 fleet and hopes for surplus P-3Cs

Argentine Naval Aviation Command is struggling to keep their P-3B fleet operational, one of two serviceable aircraft has been sent for Planned Maintenance Interval (PMI) to the Fabrica Argentina de Aviones (FAdeA) and the other continues to have little flying hours based on limitations of its airframe. The 50 year old P-3B TACNAVMOD “SuperBee”, 6-P-56, had been inspected by a Lockheed Martin commission which advised for spar replacements. A bid was placed and OGMA was selected to perform these works in FAdeA in late 2015. As sources state, OGMA is now in conflict with Lockheed Martin and in jeopardy to lose its certification if it has not already. This comes in conjunction with a budget reduction which left the aircraft unfinished at approximately 72% of completion, as Full Aviacion recently reported.

Guatemala wants to buy two FAdeA’s IA-63 Pampa

According to sources both in the Fabrica Argentina de Aviones (FAdeA) and the argentine government, the Guatemala Air Force is finishing up the details to buy two new IA-63 Pampa Serie III from Argentina. Several talks and high-level visits took place in the last two years for the agreement to come, according to the website Full Aviacion, the Guatemalan government set up an advance payment of 8 million USD and will cancel what’s due upon delivery of the aircraft, which is set for late 2019. No details are yet available on spares, support and training. These IA-63 will be replacing A-37 Dragonfly light attack / trainers, received from the U.S. in the 1970s. This comes as the first export client of the IA-63 Pampa and the first export aircraft of FAdeA in almost 30 years.

Turkey, too good of an opportunity for Argentina’s UAS capabilities development?

Unmistakably, Argentina has been one of the frontrunners in UAS development from the last 30 years on. Initiatives from both private and Armed Forces R&D institutions had a certain degree of success but due to lack of actual government commitment beyond the concept and prototype phases, have failed to provide a lasting and concrete deployment of such systems in Security and Armed Forces. In the region, military/security UAS as of commercial UAS are in use. Both Israel and the U.S. hold a massive share of the sales for the mission-specific aircraft, even in some cases with licensed production of them. On the other hand, Chinese commercial systems are in large numbers both in government, law enforcement as for privates.

IA-58 Pucara, do or die.

A recent photo has shown the IA-58H, AX-561, re engine prototype leaving the paint shop with a new air superiority camouflage. This aircraft over a year ago suspended its flight tests to complete the analysis on the works done by FAdeA with engineering assistance of Israel Aircraft Industries to replace the obsolete Turbomeca Astazou XVI-G engines for new Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-A62. With assistance from Israel Aircraft Industries, this meant to redesign the wing and to request Hartzell's development of a beta control, necessary to reverse the propeller. Upon this much delayed work, some sources in the Ministry of Defense, have disclosed rumors of an intended request of from 3 to less than a dozen aircraft to be serviced and reengined, but nothing yet of more complex works on the remaining fleet. This engine replacement would only address one (still very important) aspect of a valid combat aircraft well within the 21st century.

Brazil launched its first locally built S-BR submarine

In the afternoon of Dec 14th. Itaguai Construcoes Navais (ICN) launched the first locally built Riachuelo class submarine for the Brazilian Navy. The S-BR project within the PROSUB, submarine construction plan, came to shape after a strategic agreement between Brazil and France more than a decade ago. A new base and shipyard has been built in Itaguai, near the Brazilian nuclear research and development facilities both existing and new, to build 4 diesel electric submarines and one nuclear. DCNS, now Naval Group, was selected thus to provide the basic engineering for both conventional and nuclear projects.

Argentina looks for PT6 engine parts in the U.S.

Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 parts and spares are being looked for EMB-312 Tucano and T-34C-1 training aircraft. These are extensively used both for school and for pilots to maintain their qualifications. They have received a renewed interest considering intents to upgrade their avionics and the possibility to complement them with surplus U.S. Navy aircraft.

Brazilian Institute of Advanced Studies uses 3d printing to build Scramjet engine components

The Hypersonic Aerothermaldynamics (EAH) division of the Institute of Advanced Studies (IEAv) related to Brazilian DCTA, started to use a 3D Fortus 900mc printer from Stratasys, to build laboratory models of hypersonic aeronautical engines. This new tooling provides a saving of approximately 250.000 Reales, around 62.000 dollars in production costs. This printer, which has a cost of 400.000 dollars, has been bought with funding of FINEP in 2015 and started to produce these components in 2016. Israel Rego, Chief of Ground Essays for the EAH, declared that the purpose is to optimize research and development also to speed up the time in updates and adjustments with reduced costs. IEAv currently produces three subsystems of that Scramjet engine for hypersonic wind tunnel tests.