FAdeA unveils Pampa III and Unasur I concept demonstrators
|Monday 4 November 2013||Text by Carlos Ay under Industry|
Argentine Aircraft Factory FAdeA (Fábrica Argentina de Aviones “Brigadier San Martín”) unveiled technology demonstrators or mock-ups for two of their flagship aircraft development projects and provided updates on other aircraft, helicopter and aviation parts manufacturing programmes. These announcements were made at a private ceremony held on Thursday 10 October 2013 to mark the company’s 86th anniversary, presided over by Defence Minister, Agustin Rossi, and hosted by FAdeA chairman of the board, Raúl Arganaraz.
Central to the event was the unveiling of a concept demonstrator for Pampa III, the latest evolution in the IA-63 trainer saga first flown in 1984. This variant will feature improved glass cockpit, integrated helmets, datalink and new ejection seats. Building upon upgrades incorporated into the preceding Pampa II version, Pampa III will incorporate two additional multifunction displays and Targo integrated helmet mounted avionics systems, which will transfer Pampa avionics into the pilot’s helmet with both day and night flying and simulation modes which supplier Elbit Systems says make it “ideal for fighter aircraft [and] trainers”. Albeit shown in an incomplete installation on 10 October, the variant is to be equipped with the lightweight K-36L-3.5Ya version of the Zvezda K-36 ejection seat.
Forty Pampas in two years
The Pampa III prototype will fly in the first quarter of 2014 (EX-03 will apparently remain the sole Pampa prototype for future evolutions). Wearing Argentine Air Force serial E-823, the aircraft shown on 10 October will be the first of 17 Pampa IIIs destined to said service, with a further 22 units scheduled to be built under follow-up configuration, Pampa GT, the ultimate IA-63 tactical fighter evolution. Equipping this version with a Russian-built engine is puportedly under consideration so as to avoid dependence from Western suppliers. All these aircraft are expected to be built before the end of the Cristina Fernández-Kirchner Administration in 2015. Expressing support for theproject, Rossi said his ministry was “strongly committed with the initiative that aims at reaching series production” for these Pampa variants.
In a background display, FAdeA also showed a full-scale mock-up of Unasur I, the proposed basic/advanced training solution for Union of South American Nations air force pilots. Argañaraz confirmed that “consensus has been reached among regional defence ministries and air forces towards a joint operational requirement that will satisfy 90% of each [and every] individual country’s needs” and underscored that “technology transfer will occur within the region, thus guaranteeing the greatest strategic defense self sufficiency” under this programme. Also in the military field, Minister Rossi said that progress was being made in the contract that will see Argentina supplying components for assembly of Embraer KC-390 transport/tanker aircraft in Brazil.
As for civil projects, both Defence and FAdeA had something to say about Puelche, the Argentine derivative of the Piper Pawnee crop sprayer that started being built in Córdoba last year. Rossi announced Puelche sales will be encouraged, with government subsidizing 7.5 points in 9% interest rate loans provided by the Argentine National Bank, with special cases paying only 5% rates. Argañaraz, in turn, said FAdeA is capable to build one Puelche per month and is authorized to increase production to four aircraft per month under contract with type certificate owner, Laviasa. As for the Sino-Argentine helicopter project, CZ-11 Pampero was undergoing certification by Argentina’s civil aviation authority, with Argentine prototype LV-X497 logging “over 300 uneventful flight hours”, FAdeA’s top executive said.
Political and government authorities attending the event included Defense Science, Technology and Production Under Secretary and FAdeA director, Santiago Rodríguez, Military Emergency Aid Coordination Under Secretary, María Cecilia Rodríguez, International Defense Affairs Under Secretary, Roberto de Luise, Strategic Industrial Planning Under Secretary, Horacio Cepeda, Civil Aviation Accidents Investigations Board Chairwoman, Pamela Suárez, and first candidate to the House of Representatives for the ruling Front for Victory coalation, Carolina Scotto.
Military guests in turn included Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, Brigadier General Luis Carena, Air Force Chief of Staff, General Brigadier Mario Callejo, and Navy Chief of Staff, Rear Admiral Gastón Erice. Also attending were Córdoba Industrial Union chairman, Ercole Felippa, and a host of local and foreign government and military officials and representatives from several national and international suppliers, including renowned Russian test pilot Anatoly Kvochur.
Internet sources: Aeroespacio, Air Mercosur (Diego Rojo blog), Córdoba Vuela (Marcelo Garay blog), Elbit Systems (official), FAdea (oficial), FIDIA (official), La Voz del Interior and Zvezda NPP (official).