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FMA IA-63 Pampa (Prairie)


Advanced Jet Trainer / Light Strike Aircraft


Argentina | 1988



"The Argentine FMA IA-63 Pampa advanced trainer was made possible with technical assistance from the German concern of Dornier."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/22/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Comparatively smaller air powers of the world - such as that of Argentina - rely on more cost-effective measures to stock their aircraft inventories. In 1988, the Argentine Air Force adopted the FMA IA-63 "Pampa" (translated as "Prairie") as its standard advanced jet trainer with an inherent light strike capability as secondary. Twenty-seven of the type were procured from 1984 onwards with manufacture handled by Fabrica Militar de Aviones (FMA). The IA-63 continues in active service as of this writing (2014).

Because of the limited capabilities of the Argentine aviation industry, the country teamed with aero manufacturer Dornier of Germany to develop its Pampa aircraft. Up to this point in its history, the Argentine Air Force utilized the French-originated Morane-Saulnier MS-760 "Paris" as its primary trainer. The French company produced just 165 of these in all and these served from 1959 until 1997 at which time they were retired by the French in 1997. The Argentines carried them forward a little longer, retiring their stock as recently as 2007.

Design work on what would become the "Pampa" began in 1978 and a single-engine, high-wing monoplane platform was selected for general simplicity in maintenance and repair. Rather than bring about a completely new aircraft from the ground up, the Dornier "Alpha Jet" was selected as the basis for the Argentine Air Force requirement and this led to the FMA / Dornier partnership taking hold.

The end result was a dimensionally smaller aircraft that mimicked the design lines of the original Alpha Jet. Other key differences were the single engine layout as opposed to the Alpha Jet's dual-engine configuration and the Pampa's straight monoplane wings (the Alpha Jet held swept-back wing mainplanes). A wheeled tricycle undercarriage was wholly retractable, intakes were mounted along the fuselage sides, and the crew of two sat under a single-piece, side-hinged canopy offering good vision out-of-the-cockpit. The wing mainplanes were high mounted along the fuselage sides with two hardpoints featured to each wing element. Their high positioning provided excellent ground clearance for the management of stores (bombs, rocket pods, gun pods). The empennage showcased a sole vertical tail fin with the engine jettisoning from the base of the tail unit.

Dimensions included a length of 35.10 feet, a height of 14 feet, and a wingspan of 31.9 feet. Empty weight was 6,220lb with a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 11,025lb.

Suitable performance was made possible by a single Garrett TFE731-2-N turbofan engine outputting 3,500lbf. Maximum speed remained subsonic at 510 miles per hour with cruising speeds in the 465mph range. Operational range was out to 932 miles with a service ceiling listed at 42,325 feet. Rate-of-climb reached approximately 6,000 feet-per-minute.

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As the IA-63 was envisioned with a secondary light strike combat role, a 30mm DEFA-GIAT 554 series cannon was supported by its design. Five total hardpoints (four underwing) allowed for up to 1,430lb of external stores to be carried. The fuselage centerline position was restricted to 550lb of that total as were the two outboard underwing positions.

Initial service models were the IA-63 and aircraft were realized as soon as 1984 but the Argentine economical situation at the time meant that viable strength was not reached until 1988. Two production batches were signed with the first delivering eighteen airframes and the second and additional six airframes. These aircraft were later upgraded to the AT-63 Pampa standard by Lockheed Martin and featured a more advanced/modern avionics kit, broader weapons support for existing Argentine Air Force munitions, and a new engine fitting. Lockheed had absorbed FMA of Argentina by this time.

The Vought "Pampa 2000" was a short-lived upgrade endeavor of the 1990s lead by LTV (Vought) with the project goal to provide the United States Air Force (USAF) / United States Navy (USN) with a new "joint service" universal trainer. The services instead selected the Beechcraft T-6 "Texan II" as the winner of the competition in 1995.

The Argentine Air Force remains the sole operator of the IA-63 Pampa.

FMA is now known as Fabrica Argentina de Aviones (FAdeA).

The Pampa has been put through a modernization program that includes new-generation avionics (Elbit glass cockpit, helmet-mounted sighting system). Known as "Pampa III", forty systems are earmarked for the Argentine Air Force with 20 set to be configured for the light attack role. First-flight of an aircraft fitting this standard was on March 29th, 2016. The Pampa III was offered to India to replace its outgoing Kiran jet trainer line.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the FMA IA-63 Pampa (Prairie) Advanced Jet Trainer / Light Strike Aircraft.
1 x Garrett TFE 731-2-2N turbofan engine developing 3,500lb of thrust.
Propulsion
510 mph
820 kph | 443 kts
Max Speed
42,323 ft
12,900 m | 8 miles
Service Ceiling
932 miles
1,500 km | 810 nm
Operational Range
5,950 ft/min
1,814 m/min
Rate-of-Climb
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the FMA IA-63 Pampa (Prairie) Advanced Jet Trainer / Light Strike Aircraft.
2
(MANNED)
Crew
35.9 ft
10.93 m
O/A Length
31.8 ft
(9.69 m)
O/A Width
14.1 ft
(4.29 m)
O/A Height
6,217 lb
(2,820 kg)
Empty Weight
11,023 lb
(5,000 kg)
MTOW
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
RANGE
ALT
SPEED
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the FMA IA-63 Pampa (Prairie) Advanced Jet Trainer / Light Strike Aircraft .
TYPICAL:
1 x 30mm DEFA-Giat 554 cannon

OPTIONAL:
Gunpods, rocket pods, and conventional drop bombs; up to 1,430lbs of external stores allowed across five total hardpoints (four underwing).
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the FMA IA-63 Pampa (Prairie) family line.
IA-63 "Pampa" - Base Series Designation; 24 examples delivered beginning in 1988.
"Pampa 2000" - Proposed Joint Primary Aircraft Training System for USAF competition; modification by LTV/Vought.
AT-63 "Pampa" - Modernized IA-63 by Lockheed Martin who acquired FMA; advanced/modernized avionics, new engine, improved weapons support.
"Pampa III" - Modernized model with all-glass cockpit by Elbit of Israel; helmet sighting system; 40 expected for AAF with 20 of these to be made to a light attack standard.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the FMA IA-63 Pampa (Prairie). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 27 Units

Contractor(s): Fabrica Militar de Aviones (FMA); Fabrica Argentina de Aviones (FAdeA) - Argentina / Lockheed Martin - USA
National flag of Argentina

[ Argentina ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 750mph
Lo: 375mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (510mph).

Graph Average of 563 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
27
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
EarlyYrs
WWI
Interwar
WWII
ColdWar
Postwar
Modern
Future
1 / 1
Image of the FMA IA-63 Pampa (Prairie)
Image from the official site of the Argentine Air Force - www.faa.mil.ar

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
CLOSE-AIR SUPPORT
RECONNAISSANCE
TRAINING
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The FMA IA-63 Pampa (Prairie) Advanced Jet Trainer / Light Strike Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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