The state-owned Argentinian company Fábrica Argentina de Aviones SA (FAdeA) seeking customers and an overseas partner for its IA-63 Pampa III trainer and light attack aircraft.
FAdeA’s efforts come amid the Argentinian government warning the company of both losing its funding and possibly undergoing restructuring should it fail to secure revenue. However, Argentina’s Ministry of Defence is reportedly unable to a sufficient number of Pampa III orders that could keep FAdeA open.
As a result, FAdeA is reportedly in talks with the privately-owned South African conglomerate Paramount Group for a possible co-marketing partnership for the Pampa III. Besides committing to buying six aircraft, Paramount Group would assist FAdeA market the Pampa III to third-party markets.
FAdeA is also in talks with Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay over the possible sale of Pampa IIIs.
FAdeA had rolled its first Pampa III in July. The IA-63 Pampa was developed in the 1980s as a trainer, but it repeatedly suffered from delays owing to Argentina’s severe economic woes and fiscal constraints.
These challenges riddled the development of the modernized Pampa III, of which the Argentine MoD had originally committed to buy 40. However, with funding unavailable, the Argentinian Air Force can commit to only three Pampa III aircraft, at least for the foreseeable future.
The Pampa III has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 5,000 kg. It has a payload of 1,500 kg across five external hardpoints. Powered by one Honeywell TFE731-40-2N turbofan engine, the Pampa III has a cruise speed of 650 km/h and maximum speed of 880 km/h. It has a ferry range of 2,357 km.
Notes & Comments:
If an agreement is reached, the Pampa III would provide Paramount Group with a heavier aircraft to complement to its Mwari light combat aircraft. The Mwari is a turboprop-powered platform with a MTOW of 3,800 kg. It is meant for light attack and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance roles. The Pampa III could fit as an advanced jet trainer and close air support fighter. Paramount Group could also aim to fit the Pampa III with its own avionics and sensor suites.
If reports of Paramount Group seeking six aircraft are accurate, then it could suggest that the company is looking to add the Pampa III to the Paramount Aviation Academy, which provides pilot training services to regional air forces. This could also enable FAdeA to more readily access the Sub-Saharan Africa defence market, which is generally receptive to low-cost combat solutions due to limited financial means and/or low-intensity or asymmetrical threat environments.