Because of ongoing - and growing insurgencies - worldwide, there remains a market for counter-insurgency aircraft. These rugged, purpose-build systems rely on a bevy of weapon loadouts, long loitering times and strong communications with forward-operating elements to achieve mission success. Such close-support weapon systems have proven their worth in wars in Columbia, Iraq and Afghanistan and remain a desired over-battlefield element for both large and small world military powers alike.
IOMAX of the United States has, therefore, developed a new counter-insurgency platform under the "Archangel" name. This aircraft is based on the Thrush 710P series aircraft used for crop-dusting in the agricultural sector. As such, the Archangel comes with straight wing mainplanes and inherently strong low-altitude handling characteristics. It is a direct development of the AirTractor AT-802 "Border Patrol Aircraft" also developed by IOMAX USA of North Carolina. This particular product was taken on by the United Arab Emirates for border security duties beginning in 2011.
The Archangel carries over the excellent qualities of the 710P and AT-802 lines but is given larger wings and a more powerful Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67F turboprop engine of 1,600 horsepower driving a five-bladed propeller unit in the nose. Survivability for the crew of two (seated in tandem) has been further increased as has been situational awareness to incoming threats such as missiles. The aircraft sports a mission endurance window of over ten hours allowing it to loiter over contested spaces for some time. The wheeled undercarriage (tail-dragger) is fixed during flight which does away with some of the added complexity and maintenance requirements of a retractable arrangement.
Internally, the cockpit is all-modern with digital processing and three large Multi-Function Displays (MFDs) in the front cockpit and two in the rear cockpit. The avionics fit is the Esterline CMC Electronics Cockpit 4000 series which is common across some training platforms in circulation already. The twin cockpits are set up with dual-control schemes making it possible for either airman to control the aircraft. Night vision is supported in both cockpits as is Head-Up Displays (HUDs) and Hands-On-Throttle-And-Stick (HOTAS).
The Archangel has six total underwing hardpoints (three to a wing) and can carry precision-guided weaponry including missiles and bombs as well as more traditional rocket pods and gun pods. Dual-rail launchers increase lethality as the platform is cleared to carry up to forty-eight CIRIT Roketsan laser-guided missiles, twelve Hellfire missiles or ten GBU-58 (MK-81) Laser-Guided Bombs (LGBs) or six GBU-12 (MK-82) LGBs.
Beyond its given counter-insurgency role, the Archangel is being marketed to cover various other service roles including border security, counter-terrorism, anti-piracy and anti-smuggling. It has found its launch customer in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) - a fleet of twenty-four aircraft will succeed the AT-802 aircraft in service.
May 2017 - Egypt has put in a request for 12 IOMAX Archangel aircraft with the United States government. These aircraft will strengthen its border patrol arm if the request is approved.
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Iomax USA, Incorporated - United States Manufacturer(s)
Various munitions including air-to-surface missiles, anti-tank Hellfire missiles (Hellfire), gun pods, cannon pods, guided bombs, unguided bombs, and rocket pods spread across six underwing hardpoints (three per wing). Mission sensors and pods also supported.
Archangel - Base Product Designation
Archangel Block 1 - Initial batch model
Archangel "Border Patrol Aircraft" (BPA) - Outfitted for border patrol work.
Archangel Block 2 - Electro-optical camera system fitted under the fuselage; other subtle changes instituted.
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