The primary (basic) trainer still represents the starting point for all military pilots before they can graduate to more advanced platforms and, as such, most every major world military air service commits to some variant of twin-seat, straight-winged, prop-driven form. Argentina Aircraft Factory (FAdeA), whose last notable project was the IA-63 "Pampa" series, has been reinvigorated by way of renationalization and taken the lead in developing and producing a local solution to a growing problem facing the Argentine Air Force.
Initially, procurement and local production of foreign types was researched but it was eventually decided that an internal effort to produce the trainer was in order - with exportation also a goal of the program. The result has become the "IA-73" with financial backing from Brazil, Bolivia and Ecuador (Brazil, while standing as the largest financial contributor to the program, has not revealed active plans to purchase the I.A.73 for the basic trainer role). As it stands, the Argentine Air Force is set to procure fifty of the aircraft while Venezuela and Ecuador are earmarked for twenty-four and eighteen apiece.
FAdeA had planned to build a pair of prototypes for actual flight testing and a pair of static units for structural testing. It is planned to introduce the I.A.73 into Argentina service sometime in 2017.
The finalized design follows a conventional arrangement seating its crew of two in tandem under a long, largely windowed, canopy set over midships. The engine is fitted to the nose in the usual way with the wing mainplanes set at midships as well. The tail is traditional in its arrangement, completed with a single vertical fin and low-set horizontal planes. The wheeled undercarriage is of a tricycle arrangement. Internally, the cockpits will house a digital, all-glass cockpit (presumably of Israeli origin) and made inherently modular / expandable to suit future requirements. Military variants of the aircraft will sport "Zero-Zero" ejection seats. Propulsion power is expected to come from a single Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 engine driving a four-bladed propeller at the nose - though there is also talk of introducing a Chinese-branded engine for non-Western-aligned customers.
Beyond the presented military training role, the I.A.73 will also be marketed as an aerobatics performer, showcasing strong agility qualities and may find plenty of takers in the budget-conscious civilian market as a well.
Structural dimensions and performance specifications presented on this page are estimates on the part of the author.