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FMA SAIA 90

Argentina (1989)
Picture of FMA SAIA 90 4th Generation Multirole Fighter / Fighter-Bomber

The FMA SAIA 90 of the mid-1980s stood as a rather ambitious multirole fighter platform for the nation of Argentina - it did not progress far.


Detailing the development and operational history of the FMA SAIA 90 4th Generation Multirole Fighter / Fighter-Bomber.  Entry last updated on 6/22/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

In the middle part of the 1980s, Argentine aero-industry laid plans for what was to become a largely indigenous air superiority fighter through the FMA "SAIA 90". The project was headed locally by Fabrica Militar de Aviones (FMA) with assistance from Dornier of what was then West Germany. The SAIA 90 represented the final stage of what was to encompass a the FMA IA-63 "Pampa" advanced trainer and the eventually-abandoned IA-67 "Cordoba" attacker. The SAIA 90 project followed the IA-67 in becoming an unrealized aircraft for the South American country.

As FMA lacked the knowhow to produce a complete aircraft all on its own it was to rely heavily on outside assistance to brining the program to fruition. It leaned on Dornier as the two companies had already worked on the aforementioned IA-63 and production of this compact aircraft began in 1984 but resulted in only 27 examples completed. From this work, design studies were formed by the German half and the new fighter aircraft was slowly fleshed out. Carbon fibers were selected for part of the aircraft's construction as was titanium for high heat resistance of certain areas of the fuselage.

On paper, what became the SAIA 90 was to feature many of the relatively advanced concepts appearing in fighter designs of the period - attention would be particularly paid to reducing the radar cross-section. Concept work revealed a sleek aircraft with the radar system mounted in a streamlined nosecone ahead of the single-seat cockpit. The wing mainplanes were shoulder-mounted with straight trailing edges (swept along the leading edges) and wingtip support for short-range Air-to-Air Missiles (AAMs). A twin-engine configuration would provide the necessary power and operational ranges needed while being aspirated through side-mounted intakes. Vertical tail fins, canted outward from centerline, were to be mounted well-ahead of the tail unit and the planned horizontal tailplanes would feature sweepback.
In many ways, the physical characteristics of the Argentine SAIA 90 mimicked that of the American McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) F/A-18 "Hornet" carrier-based fighter complete with leading edge extensions at the wingroots (reaching forward to the cockpit), the twin-engine configuration, and the forward-set stabilizers.

In service, the aircraft was to carry a multirole capability and a two-seat trainer form was also planned to cover the nuisances of flying the advanced aircraft. Dimensions included a length of 15.5 meters, a height of 3.9 meters, and a wingspan of 10.9 meters. Empty weight was 7,800 kilograms against a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 14,500 kilograms.

While never settled, the engines would most likely have been 2 x General Electric F404 series afterburning turbofan units (or similar) perhaps in the 11,000/17,000lb (dry/afterburning) output range. Estimated performance would net a maximum speed of Mach 2.25 with a service ceiling up to 50,000 feet and a range out to 3,380 kilometers - very similar to the American F/A-18 series.

In terms of armament, an internal 27mm Mauser cannon was projected as a standard fit and eleven hardpoints (all external), including the wingtip missile mounts, would be featured for stores. Several would also be plumbed for jettisonable fuel tanks. Up to 5,000 kilograms of munitions could be carried in the form of air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles as well as more conventional ordnance. It is conceivable that, with the right armament, the aircraft was also to undertake anti-radar sorties and general airspace denial roles as required.

Despite the many obstacles in the way of the project, it was foreseen that deliveries of the new machine could begin as soon as 1991. However, FMA became burdened with financial troubles of its own and failed to entice global industry partners to help the product succeed. As a result, the ambitious SAIA 90 initiative was abandoned and eventually fell away to history.






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 Rating
Hi: 1800mph
Lo: 900mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (1,727mph).

    Graph average of 1350 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the FMA SAIA 90's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Pie graph section
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Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
0
0


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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


Altitude Visualization
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Origin: Argentina
Year: 1989
Type: 4th Generation Multirole Fighter / Fighter-Bomber
Manufacturer(s): Fabrica Militar de Aviones (FMA) - Argentina / Dornier - West Germany
Production: 0
Global Operators:
Argentina (cancelled)
Historical 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 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 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
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the FMA SAIA 90 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
50.85 ft


Meters
15.5 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
35.93 ft


Meters
10.95 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
12.99 ft


Meters
3.96 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
17,196 lb


Kilograms
7,800 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
31,967 lb


Kilograms
14,500 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
PROBABLE: 2 x General Electric F404 turbofan engines developing 12,345 lb of thrust each.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
1,727 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
2,780 kph


Knots
1,501 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
2,100 mi


Kilometers
3,380 km


Nautical Miles
1,825 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
57,415 ft


Meters
17,500 m


Miles
10.87 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
50,000 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
15,240 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an air-to-air missile weapon
Graphical image of a short-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of an aircraft Gatling-style rotating gun
Graphical image of an aircraft air-to-surface missile
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Armament - Hardpoints (11):

PROPOSED:
1 x 27mm Mauser internal Gatling gun

OPTIONAL:
Support for up to 5,000 kilograms of external stores across eleven hardpoints; ordnance support for Air-to-Air Missiles (AAMs) and Air-to-Surface Missiles (ASMs) as well as smart munitions, guided ordnance, and conventional drop bombs.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• SAIA 90 - Base Series Designation
• SAIA 90A - Proposed single-seat multirole fighter / fighter-bomber.
• SAIA 90B - Proposed two-seat trainer variant