IA-63 Pampa III Advanced Trainer and Light-Attack Aircraft, Argentina

IA-63 Pampa III advanced trainer and light attack aircraft

The IA-63 Pampa III is a new advanced trainer and light-attack aircraft produced by Fábrica Argentina de Aviones (FAdeA) for the Argentine Air Force. It is an upgraded variant of the Pampa II aircraft.

The IA-63 Pampa III prototype made its first flight in September 2015, while the first mass-produced aircraft completed maiden flight in March 2016. FAdeA successfully conducted two verification flights as part of the test flight programme in December 2016. The first production aircraft was rolled out in July 2017.

FAdeA plans to manufacture 40 new aircraft, including 18 Pampa III trainer variants and 22 Pampa Generation Tactical (GT) light-attack configurations for the Argentine Air Force.

IA-63 Pampa III design and features

The high-wing monoplane design of the IA-63 Pampa III integrates a robust airframe integrating advanced avionics with servo-assisted flight controls. The under-fuselage is fitted with a tri-cycle retractable landing gear. The single wheel retracts into the body below the cockpit, while the two wheels of the main landing gear retract into the central fuselage.

The aircraft has a length of 10.9m, wing span of 9.7m, wing surface of 15.6m² and a height of 4.3m. The empty weight and maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of the aircraft are 2,960kg and 5,000kg respectively.

The Pampa III aircraft enables the pilots to acquire essential skills to operate fourth and fifth-generation fighter aircraft. The easy-to-maintain platform further reduces operational costs compared to similar turboprop trainer aircraft.

Cockpit and avionics

The cockpit of the IA-63 Pampa III houses two crew members in tandem seating configuration. The full glass cockpit is covered by a single-piece clamshell canopy and is equipped with three 5in x 7in high-resolution colour multi-function displays (CMFDs), which present the navigation, engine and aircraft systems data.

"FAdeA plans to manufacture 40 new aircraft, including 18 Pampa III trainer variants and 22 Pampa GT (Generation Tactical) light attack configurations for the Argentine Air Force."

The aircraft also integrates hands on throttle and stick (HOTAS) controls, a helmet-mounted display (HMD), a global positioning system (GPS) and a radio altimeter, as well as a mission planning and debriefing system with a data transfer system and a multi-role mission computer (MMC).

The integrated HOTAS controls allow the pilot to operate the navigation, communication and weapon systems. The data transmission system aboard the aircraft features virtual training capability. It enables the transfer of real-time data between aircraft to conduct formation flights and scenario-based training.

The information created by the data link is presented on the displays during the flight, while embedded virtual avionics enable the crew to perform post-flight analysis and evaluation of the missions.

IA-63 Pampa III armament

The aircraft features five hard points, two under each wing and one under fuselage. The hard points can hold a maximum weapon load of 1,500kg. The fuselage hard point can be mounted with a 30mm DEFA Giat 554 canon pod with 145 rounds of ammunition.

The under-wing pylons can be installed with general purpose bombs such as Mk81 and Mk82, as well as a LAU-61 19-round 70mm rocket launcher or an ARM-657 Mamboretá rocket launcher with six Aspide rockets.

Engines and performance

The aircraft is powered by a Honeywell TFE731-40-2N turbofan engine mounted in the central part of the fuselage. The engine generates 3,950lb of thrust, which is 20% higher than that of the original IA-63 Pampa engine. It offers greater performance and service life, while significantly reducing operational costs.

The IA-63 Pampa III trainer has a cruise speed of 650km/h and can fly at a maximum speed of 880km/h, while its maximum range is 2,357km. The aircraft can climb at a rate of 1,737m per minute to reach a maximum altitude of 12,900m.

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