The Egyptian Ministry of Defence (MoD) is negotiating with IOMAX for Archangel aircraft.
IHS Jane’s reports that IOMAX began high-level talks with the Egyptian MoD for upgrading its 12 IOMAX AT-802s (which were gifted to Cairo by the United Arab Emirates) and 10 additional aircraft, specifically the Archangel Block-2 Border Patrol Aircraft (BPA).
As per IOMAX, Air Tractor and L3 were working to get the U.S. government to direct Egypt towards the AT-802L, a similar lightweight attack system (using the same platform as earlier Archangel attackers).
IOMAX told IHS Jane’s that “Air Tractor and L3 have been misrepresenting their product in Egypt, but luckily [IOMAX] found this out before it had gone through the [U.S. State Department].” IOMAX is now finalizing its Archangel talks with Cairo.
IOMAX says this has been a recurring issue, citing the U.S. $418 million sale of AT-802Ls to Kenya as an example of that misrepresentation. In fact, IOMAX believes that Kenya is overpaying for the AT-802L as it had offered to secure and weaponize aircraft under the Archangel program for $281 million.
Although IOMAX had used the Air Tractor AT-802 as the base platform for the Archangel, it has switched to the Thrush S2R-660 powered by the ubiquitous Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67F turboprop. The tandem two-seat aircraft has seven hardpoints (six under wings and one centerline), up to 10 hours of endurance (in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mode) and payload of over 1,300 kg.
The Archangel has been qualified to use GBU-12/58 laser-guided bombs, AGM-114 Hellfire II anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) as well as Roketsan Cirit laser-guided rockets and UMTAS ATGM. It can also deploy lightweight munitions (e.g. GBU-58, Hellfire-II and UMTAS) with dual ejector racks.
Notes & Comments:
As with other turboprop-powered attack aircraft users, Egypt will likely use the IOMAX Archangel as part of its counterinsurgency (COIN) close air support (CAS) missions. Like the A-29 Super Tucano and others, the promise of the Archangel rests in its lower flight costs in comparison to fast jets such as the F-16. In low anti-air warfare (AAW) threat environments where multi-role fighters are not necessary, the IOMAX Archangel can be utilized to deploy precision-guided bombs, rockets and missiles at non-state militants, especially low-value vehicles and installations.