The Pampa III, the training aircraft built in Argentina by the Fábrica Argentina de Aviones (Argentina Aircraft Factory, FAA) in Cordoba, has made its first flight.
The President of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, gave the order this afternoon for the inaugural flight of Pampa III, a new generation of advanced training aircraft manufactured in Cordoba by the Argentina Aircraft Factory (FAA). (FAA was previously known as the Fabrica Militar de Aviones, or Military Aircraft Factory—Ed.)
By videoconference with Defense Minister Agustin Rossi, and the Secretary of Science, Technology and Defence Production, Santiago Rodriguez, who chaired the takeoff ceremony in Cordoba, the president the watched the brand new prototype take flight.
From FADEA headquarters, Rossi stressed the "enormous emotional charge" surrounding the departure of one of the 40 aircraft that, in 2013, the Defense Ministry commissioned from FADEA, the state-owned company which in the 1940s and 1950s also made trucks and “Puma” motorcycles.
The prototype of the IA-63 Pampa III began flight tests as part of a project that includes the manufacture of 40 new units for training the pilots of the Argentine Armed Forces and for various tactical missions.
This aircraft not only includes the latest technology in simulated combat and data display, but also increases the participation of domestic industry, as part of its components of foreign origin are replaced by others produced by technological SMEs in Argentina.
The Pampa III is the latest variant of the IA-63 Pampa advanced trainer, whose design began in 1979 and whose original prototype flew in 1984. After the re-nationalization of the factory in 2009, it developed an updated version called Pampa II in which the original engine was replaced by a higher performance one.
The latest Pampa III technology upgrade includes three liquid crystal displays that allow pilots a better view of all the flight data and mission; an electronic system to simulate different combat situations; and it also integrates new equipment that allows all aircraft to communicate with each other, and with command centers on the ground, to share real-time information.
Tests of these new systems include the EX03 and AV1027 cells, and once validated the performance of the new systems, the first series production, of which 18 units were manufactured between 1984 and 2008 in its different versions, will be consolidated
With an investment of over $500 million, it is planned to build 40 new aircraft, 18 in the Pampa III trainer version and 22 in the Pampa GT (Generation Tactical) armed version, whose requirements have not yet been finalized.
In this regard, the president of FADEA, Matias Savoca, told Telam that "for the company's Pampa III project was a locomotive in three basic dimensions; first, the recovery of the supply chain, because negotiating with suppliers for a project that has 40 units of production ahead of it makes everything easier, and also because where manufacturers no longer produce original components, we can integrate new Argentine companies into the supply chain, which will also facilitate maintenance in future."
"Having these 40 aircraft ahead also allowed us to work differently in the organization of production, advancing a serial production plan that is sustainable. At full rate, we will deliver 6 to 10 aircraft per year," he added.
"The third key factor of the project was the incorporation of more and better human and technological resources, because this project on the one hand allowed a major staff training, and the other required the installation of various new technological capabilities that will be available for use in other lines of business and products," the official added.
Javier Siman, vice president of DTA, one of the Argentine companies which joined the program to replace foreign suppliers, told Telam that since mid-2014 his firm has developed “a yaw damper for the plane, together with its software, which will be the first Argentine aeronautical product to be certified under the DO178 standard, which is the highest international standard in this area."
"This project not only integrates us in the manufacture of the 40 aircraft, but also in the subsequent supply chain for maintenance. From that point of view the Pampa III can be seen as one of the major drivers of the aerospace industry Argentina," he concluded.