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FMA IAe 33 Pulqui II (Arrow II)

Jet-Powered Fighter / Interceptor Prototype


The FMA IAe 33 Pulqui II evolved the Argentina aero industry considerably but it failed to be adopted as a frontline fighter-interceptor.

Detailing the development and operational history of the FMA IAe 33 Pulqui II (Arrow II) Jet-Powered Fighter / Interceptor Prototype.  Entry last updated on 7/22/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
Argentina's first attempt at an indigenous jet-powered fighter was an underwhelming one by way of the FMA IAe 27 "Pulqui" ("Arrow"). However, this design offered the country much experience in the technological sense which quickly ushered along a new venture with the assistance of famous German aviation engineer Kurt Tank - father of the World War 2-era Fw 190 multirole fighter, Ta 152 high-altitude interceptor and Fw 200 "Condor" transport and maritime platform. During the late-war years, Tank was developing the Ta 183 "Huckebein" to fulfill a German Air Ministry requirement as related to the Emergency Fighter Program (EFP). Work on this aircraft was stopped with the end of the war.

Many German scientists and engineers escaped post-war Germany and made their way to places like Argentina - which proved the case with Tank. He revived his Ta 183 project amidst an Argentine government initiative to produce a local jet-powered fighter/interceptor through the Fabrica Militar de Aviones (FMA) brand label. The earlier attempt, the IAe 27 Pulqui, failed due to being underpowered and underperforming so only one example was completed before the program shifted to a new design. This became the reimagined Ta 183 and was intended as a successor to the British Gloster Meteors then in service with the Argentine Air Force.

As originally envisioned, the Ta 183 was to sport a stout, tubular fuselage with a forward-set cockpit under a largely unobstructed canopy fitting. The sole engine was installed deep within the fuselage and aspirated through a nose-mounted intake, exhausting at the base of the tail (the appearance not unlike the classic Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 fighter of Korean War fame). The tail unit showcased a "T-style" arrangement in which the single vertical fin supported high-mounted horizontal planes - all three surfaces were swept back. The wing mainplanes were mid-mounted along the fuselage sides and swept back as well (40-degree sweep), providing the high-speed aerodynamic efficiency required of the advanced design. The undercarriage was to be of a tricycle arrangement and the armament all-cannon.

When readdressing the Ta 183, Tank raised the wing mainplanes to a shoulder position to alleviate complications with the main spar and the engine installation. Power would come from a single Rolls-Royce "Nene 2" turbojet of 5,000 pounds thrust and proposed armament was 4 x 20mm autocannons.

Such promise was shown by the new aircraft that the Argentine government commissioned for five prototypes to prove the design viable as a frontline fighter investment. The initial airframe was to serve as a static test article with the subsequent airframe becoming the first flyable form. From the latter came a first flight recorded on June 27th, 1950 and issues were encountered almost immediately - both in handling and in general aerodynamics - which led to several structural changes to the undercarriage, canopy, wings and tail unit. Inadvertent stalls also became commonplace during test flights which presented an unseen danger any time the aircraft went aloft.

After a public government display on February 8th, 1951, the aircraft was ordered into pre-production through twelve examples. The prototype continued to be flown and, on May 31st, 1951, crashed after suffering a structural failing at the wing root. Despite ejecting, the pilot's parachute did not deploy and he was killed, the aircraft also being completely lost.

More structural changes greeted the third prototype which was forced into action due to No.2's crash. This prototype was also lost in a crash just days before another public governmental exhibition. A fourth prototype was then constructed and its wing mainplanes were revised with boundary layer fences (as in the MiG-15) and ventral strakes to combat the issue of deep stalling at a high Angle-of-Attack (AoA). For this version, the cockpit was fully-pressurized and the armament fit of 4 x 20mm cannons finally added to represent a closer working model to the expected production-quality forms. First flight of No.4 came on August 20th, 1953.

The IAe 33 suffered throughout a protracted development period - the final prototype went airborne in September of 1959 but Mr. Tank and his design team had relocated to India to work on an indigenous fighter program there while Argentina suffered through the 1953 financial crash and the fall of Argentina leader Juan Peron. With political uncertainty and financial hardship following, this stalled the IAe 33 program considerably and all steam was lost by the mid-1950s as a glut of American F-86 Sabres from the Korean War (1950-1953) became available to the global customers at decent prices.

With that, the story of the Pulqui II came to an end with retirement following during 1960. The five completed airframes (four flyable prototypes and the static test bed) were all that stood to show for the work and money invested. The sole survivor of the group went on to see a second life as a showpiece in the National Aeronautics Museum of Buenos Aires, Argentina - joining the original Pulqui I prototype.


YEAR: 1950
STATUS: Cancelled
MANUFACTURER(S): Fabrica Militar de Aviones (FMA) - Argentina
LENGTH: 38.39 ft (11.7 m)
WIDTH: 34.45 ft (10.5 m)
HEIGHT: 11.48 ft (3.5 m)
EMPTY WEIGHT: 8,234 lb (3,735 kg)
MTOW: 15,157 lb (6,875 kg)
POWER: 1 x Rolls-Royce Nene II turbojet engine developing 5,100 lb of thrust.
SPEED: 671 mph (1,080 kph; 583 kts)
CEILING: 49,213 feet (15,000 m; 9.32 miles)
RANGE: 1,926 miles (3,100 km; 1,674 nm)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 5,020 ft/min (1,530 m/min)
OPERATORS: Argentina

4 x 20mm Hispano-Suiza HS.404 autocannons
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Variants / Models

• IAe 33 "Pulqui II" - Base Series Designation; five prototypes completed as No.1 through No.5; initial unit was static test article followed by four flyable forms.

Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 750mph
Lo: 375mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (671mph).

Graph average of 562.5 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the FMA IAe 33 Pulqui II (Arrow II)'s operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (5)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

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