The Argentine Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Argentina, FAA) has ordered six new IA-63 Pampa III Block II trainer-light attack aircraft besides upgrades to three IA-63 Pampa II produced in Argentina by Fabrica Militar de Aviones ‘Brigadier San martin’ (FaDeA). The IA-63 Pampa was designed and manufactured in Argentina with assistance from Dornier of Germany. The deal is worth a total of $103.2 million for FaDeA, the sole domestic aircraft manufacturer which will produce Pampa III Block II aircraft at the rate of 2 per year.
Although influenced by the Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet design, the Pampa differs in being a smaller aircraft, it is also single-engined and has straight supercritical wings rather than the swept ones of the Alpha Jet. It is constructed mainly of aluminium alloy, with carbon-fibre used for components such as the air intakes. The crew of two sit in tandem under a single-piece clamshell canopy. The avionics systems are also simpler than the Franco-German aircraft, which has an important secondary combat role. The Pampa prototype first flew on 6 October 1984.
The IA-63 Pampa was developed with assistance from Dornier Flugzugwerke in the 1980s. The Argentine Ministry of Defence reached a deal worth $30.3 million with FAdeA for the production of an additional three Phase 3 Pampas in February 2018, after the deal was first revealed in December 2017. The first Pampa III, serial E-824, made its maiden flight on 21 September 2018. The first two Pampa III aircraft were delivered to the Argentine Air Force in February 2019. The last of a total of 6 Pampa III’s was delivered on 27 March 2020.
The IA-63 Pampa III Block II aircraft features a digital cockpit and data links with embedded virtual avionics (EVA) that enable simulation of various flight scenarios including that of fourth and fifth generation aircraft. The aircraft is equipped with a head-up display and full glass cockpit. In the light attack mode, the aircraft can be equipped with a 30mm cannon, up to 250 kg bombs and rocket pods. The Pampa III fleet is one of the few modern aircraft remaining in the Argentine Air Force’s inventory and are primarily used in northeast border.