In 1947, the Argentine Air Force broadened its strategic reach by purchasing a fleet of 30 Avro Lincoln heavy bombers (some former RAF models) along with 15 Avro Lancasters. With this considerable air arm by South American standards, it was decided to pair the group with a new escort / heavy fighter of local design and production. Italian aeronautical engineer Cesare Pallavicino, having arrived in Argentina during 1946 in the post-World War 2 drawdown, was hired to head the new initiative and this work ultimately revealed the IAe 30 "Nancu" - a short-lived, yet very promising, single-seat, twin-engined platform which eventually saw only one example completed.
The new heavy fighter was designed in the same vein as the British de Havilland "Hornet" series in which a centralized fuselage was straddled by engines fitted to the wing leading edges (also reminiscent of the classic de Havilland "Mosquito" series of World War 2 fame). The engine of choice became 2 x Rolls-Royce "Merlin" 604 series V-12 liquid-cooled inline piston types each outputting at 1,800 horsepower. The overall appearance of the aircraft was well-streamlined from nose to tail with the pilot seated just aft of a short nose cone assembly. The tail unit utilized a single vertical fin with mid-mounted horizontal planes. The wing mainplanes were fitted well-ahead of midships and were straight in their general shape with rounded tips - each holding an engine installation driving four-bladed propeller units. Dimensions included a length of 38 feet, a wingspan of 49.2 feet and a height of 17 feet. Empty weight was 13,685 pounds against a gross weight of 16,755 pounds. Armament settled on 6 x 20mm Hispano-Suiza HS.804 autocannons (originally Oerlikon types were considered) with support for a single 550 lb conventional drop bomb held under the belly. Each wing was also to gain provision for launch rails for up to five rockets apiece.
The clean shape, coupled with the strong-performing powerplants, resulted in a maximum speed of 460 miles per hour, cruising speeds of 310 miles per hour and ranges out to 1,680 miles. It service ceiling was listed at 26,250 feet. Mission endurance was up to 5.5 hours.
In late 1947, the Argentine government commissioned for three prototypes as the "IAe 30". The first example came online in June of 1948 and a first flight was recorded a month later on July 17th. Subsequent testing revealed a very capable, high-performance piston-powered aircraft with good handling characteristics. The prototype set a South American level speed record of 403.89 (650 kmh) miles per hour during a test flight from Cordoba to the capital city of Buenos Aires - a record still standing today (2015). This feat was achieved with the engines running at just 60% of power - showcasing the potential of this new fighter.
The aircraft was also eventually being broadened along two other lines - one as a jet-powered version (powered by 2 x Rolls-Royce Derwent turbojets of 3,500 lb thrust each) similar to the Gloster Meteor jet fighter already in service with the Argentine Air Force and the other as a two-man light bomber / heavy attack aircraft similar in scope to the classic de Havilland Mosquito (neither of these designs were furthered beyond what was already the established IAe 30 form).
Despite the mounting confidence in the IAe 30 Nancu product, there came a decided shift in the Argentine direction with the advent of the jet age and mounting financial constraints heading into the 1950s. As more and more world powers turned to turbojet developments, Argentina was forced to follow suit and invested in the IAe 27 "Pulqui" prototype which became Latin America's first turbojet-powered offering. While failing in its intended goal, this line was bettered in the ultimately-abandoned "Pulqui II" venture which was based on the wartime German Focke-Wulf Ta 183 "Huckebein" jet fighter (detailed elsewhere on this site).
This left the IAe 30 out in the lurch with no real investors and thus the IAe 30 project was retired in 1948. The aircraft did continue to fly for a short while longer until, in 1949, it suffered damaged during a hard landing. Formal cancellation came in April of 1949 and the three prototypes were scrapped. Despite its good performance (by World War 2 standards), the IAe 30 (and the entire Argentina bomber fleet) would most certainly have been made quickly obsolete by jet-powered developments.
The IAe 30 received its "Namcu" name from an eagle species native to the region of Patagonia making up the southern end of the country of Argentina.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Air-to-Air Combat, Fighter
General ability to actively engage other aircraft of similar form and function, typically through guns, missiles, and/or aerial rockets.
✓X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.
37.8 ft (11.52 m)
49.2 ft (15.00 m)
16.9 ft (5.15 m)
13,691 lb (6,210 kg)
16,755 lb (7,600 kg)
+3,064 lb (+1,390 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base FMA IAe 30 Namcu (Eagle) production variant)
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