IA-63 Pampa Advanced Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft – Fighter jets world

IA-63 Pampa Advanced Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft – Fighter jets world

The Hawk that guards the Argentine skies


Origins and development

The IA-63 Pampa refers to the two-seater training aircraft with combat capabilities that was originally designed and produced for the Argentine Air Force by the Military Aircraft Factory (FMA), located in the city of Córdoba, under the nomenclature of “Instituto Aerotécnico” model 63 “(IA-63), with the assistance of Dornier Flugzeugwerke of Germany.

The roots of this aircraft are in the late 1960s, when a profound process of modernization of national industries began in the Argentine Republic. Under the command and tutelage of President Juan Carlos Onganía, a series of military programs were launched to update and increase the capacity of the military industrial complex, which were then followed by President Héctor José Cámpora, Juan Domingo Perón and Jorge Rafael Videla. This venture was constituted as one of the largest and most ambitious military and industrial projects in Argentine National History.

Result of this incentive process to high-tech heavy industries, in collaboration with the German industry saw not only the Pampa, but the shipbuilding program integrated by the current frigates (destroyers in current denomination of the ARA) MEKO Class 360H2, the National Production Corvettes MEKO Class 140H1, and the Oceanic Attack Submarines (SSK) TR-1700 Santa Cruz Class. The Argentine Army would also have its own development program, especially the TAM program (Tanque Argentino Mediano), which, with the exception of the power plant and some optical systems, would be produced domestically with a local percentage of more than 75%.
An infinity of small and medium sized companies created collateral but deliberately would be the context in which the Pampa would see light: A package designed as a great program designed to encourage the development of high industrial technology in Argentina through the incorporation and transfer of foreign innovations.

Within this context, in April 1979, the Argentine Air Force issued a request to the Military Aircraft Factory, through the Development Directive 2202/79, for the design and construction of a medium-advanced training reactor with an objective to replace the veteran trainers Morane Saulnier MS-760 Paris.

These faithful trainers constituted the system of advanced training of the force from principles of 1960. It is possible to emphasize that 36 of the 50 apparatuses had been made under French license by FMA in Argentina.

For this purpose, the legendary Ing. Aníbal Dreidemie was appointed as head of Project IA-63. Eng. Dreidemie was the father of aircraft such as the Guaraní II and the Pucara. The first step of his design group was the selection of the aircraft’s power plant. The TFE-731-2-2N of Garrett Air Research (now Honeywell Aerospace), and the over-powered version of the Pratt & Whitney JT15D-5, known as Dash-5, have been pre-selected. The JT15D-5 was selected after multiple evaluations, but when Pratt & Whitney announced delays in the development program the FMA finally opted for Garrett’s turbofan.

This proved to be the right measure, and another version of the TFE-731 propelled the Learjet 35 aircraft with reconnaissance functions of the II Air Brigade and simplified the logistics.

The development of this project forced the FMA to its limits. Although it had extensive experience in the production and construction of aircraft, with extensive and modern facilities (at that time was producing a lot of 100 IA-58 Pucará) and a recognized work capacity product of 30 years of work under the tutelage of experienced Argentine and German engineers, the FMA required assistance in terms of aerodynamic design processes and systems integration and avionics of the latest generation.

Based on the historical and excellent political, commercial and industrial relations with West Germany, FMA formalized a complex cooperation agreement with Dornier.

Dornier and the agreements

On May 5, 1980, the FMA, in association with the FAA, signed an agreement with Dornier Flugzeugwerke AG of West Germany for the design of the future coach. Said agreement stipulated that the German consortium would design in conjunction with the FMA the prototype of the aircraft in question and that it would transfer all the work inherent to the project to be continued and tuned in Córdoba. For the manufacture of the trainer, the necessary know-how for the industrialization of the raw materials and the production of the airplane would be transferred.

It is important to highlight the fact that the development of the IA-63 was the initial step in the ambitions of the Argentine Air Force to develop the program SAIA-90 (Integrated Air Defense System for the 90’s), which would have as a main weapon system a fighter-bomber twin-engine advanced to develop in conjunction with Dornier and Northrop.

Called ACA-90 (Argentine Combat Aircraft) in Argentina and TKF-90 (Taktisches Kampf-Flugzeug 90 – Tactical Fighter Aircraft for the 90’s) in Germany, this was cut short for budgetary reasons, but their studies would be contributed to the EF -2000 Typhoon and prototype YF-23 of Northrop.


IA-63 Pampa Advanced Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft
IA-63 Pampa Advanced Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft

The details of the agreement between the German consortium and FMA included the technical advice, design direction and training of Argentine engineers in the techniques of construction and handling of composite materials. The design team, made up of engineers and technicians, began to work with their German colleagues in both the factory in Cordoba and the Friedrichschafen factory, where the main design effort was concentrated.
Developed based on the Alpha Jet produced by Dassault / Breguet and Dornier, the definition process was frozen in September 1981 to give rise to the start of the full-scale development phase.
For this purpose, high and medium speed wind tunnel tests were used and CAD (computer aided design) was used intensively to define the installation of the systems and equipment. Multiple progressive changes occurred based on these evaluations, as reflected in the taper of the wing, the revision of the geometry of the air intakes and the stylization of the frontal section of the fuselage.
While in Friedrichschafen the design took shape, new CNC numerical control machine tools such as lathes, mechanical and chemical milling machines, drilling machines, and vertical pressurized kilns (autoclaves) were installed and tuned in rooms with a controlled environment. Even a large capacity IBM 3000 was installed to control the whole, being the first machine of its kind in Latin America.

The Pampa is born

The IA-63 Pampa is a single-engine aircraft designed for medium-advanced training tasks, with a limited secondary ground attack capability. Its tandem tandem configuration includes a high supercritical profile wing and large air intakes on both sides of the cockpit. Its motor plant is positioned in the central-rear part and the posterior stabilizers are at the base of the vertical rudder in depth similar to the Alpha Jet, on which the Pampa was based.
Both pilots are positioned in tandem (one behind the other) with the student seated in front and the instructor in the rear position in an elevated position. All flight controls are duplicated in both positions.
The landing gear is reinforced and has limited capacity to operate from poorly prepared runways. The front axle has a single wheel and is stored under the cockpit and the main landing gear contains a wheel on each side and folds under the aircraft’s central fuselage, behind the air intake nozzles to the turbine.

Prototypes and presentation to the public

The flight of the first prototype of the IA-63 Pampa, the EX-01, was scheduled for October of 1983 but budget cuts delayed the project and only began to cut the metal alloys of the fuselage in June 1983. The number of prototypes also planned was affected since six were originally planned, four for flight tests and two for static ground load tests; finally and again for reasons of budget, the fourth prototype for test flights was canceled.
Instructor pilots of the Flight Test Center (CEV) of the Air Force were selected for on-air evaluations. They were sent to the school of French test pilots L`Ecole du Personnel Navigant d’Essais et de Reception, School of Testing and Reception Navigator Personnel (or EPNER for its acronym in French). There he graduated from the pilot course and test engineer the Argentine personnel assigned to the aerial evaluations of the aircraft.
Postponing four days the celebration of its anniversary to coincide with the public presentation of the EX-01, on August 14, 1984 the Argentine Air Force presents the IA-63 Pampa in the presence of the then President Raúl Alfonsín.
Six weeks later, on October 6, 1984, the first official flight commanded by Vice Commodore Genaro M. Sciola was carried out, accompanied by Major Horacio Orefice. This flight lasted fifty minutes, reaching a speed of Mach 0.63 to 4.570 meters without news.
As with other Argentine aircraft, the EX-01 was shipped in a C-130 Hercules and presented at the Paris exhibition of Le Bourget in 1985. Painted with a red-blue-white scheme typical of the national experimental aircraft after In 1970, his presentation caught the attention of the international press posted at the aeronautical fair.
With the EX-01 performance tests, engine vibrations, system tuning and the study of the behavior of aeroelastic vibrations, known as flutter or battling effect, were carried out. Then, on August 7, 1985, the flight of the second prototype took place, the EX-02, with which the evaluation of stability and control in different regimes began, from which the manual of flight. Finally, on March 25, 1986, took off the third prototype, EX-03 with which the weapons launch tests began, with eight cameras that recorded the operation of these systems.
As a last detail, as a result of the investigations and the political-economic course of the project, modifications were made to the prototypes, so the biggest structural difference of the EX-03 with respect to 01 resulted in the replacement of the original ejection seats, the British Martin-Baker MK-AR8LM, for UPS Stencel SIII-31A63 of North American origin.
The original requirement of the FAA defined the need to acquire 64 devices to completely replace the MS-760 Paris and complement the veterans A-4B / C of the IV Air Brigade. The Alfonsin administration made significant budget cuts that limited production for the FAA to only one lot of 20 IA-63 Pampa aircraft. The serial deliveries began in April 1988, delivering the first three aircraft to the IV Air Brigade in El Plumerillo, Mendoza. The last units were completed in 1992.

FMA/Vought Pampa 2000

In 1987 the United States Air Force and the US Navy launched the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System contest known as J-PATS (or Joint Primer Program of Aerial Training Systems) for the acquisition of a new basic trainer to replace the T-37 Tweet in the US Air Force and the T-34C Turbo Mentor in the U.S. Navy.
Known as “the contract of the Century”, it meant a business for more than 700 aircraft and 1,600 million dollars. Multiple candidates presented their aircraft in the program. The company Vought Aircraft (ex LTV -Ling Temco Vought- currently acquired by Northrop-Grumman), which did not have its own trainer design, partnered with the FMA offering a modernized version of the IA-63, called Pampa 2000.
The prototype EX-02 and the serial aircraft license plates E-812 and E-814 were sent to Vought silver in Dallas, Texas. These last two were modified with several incorporations of avionics, new hydraulic systems, ejector seats Martin-Barker MKUS 16LC and other modifications as two color LCD screens that gathered much of the information previously provided by analog means such as clocks and variometers to meet the American specifications.
In addition to the Vought / FMA Pampa 2000, they participated in the Cessna contest with the Citation 526; Lockheed / Aermacchi with the MB-339 T-Bird II; Grumman / SIAI-Marchetti with the S211A; Rockwell / Dornier with the 2000 Ranger; Northrop / Embraer Super Tucano and Beechcraft / Pilatus with PC-9.
The first flight of the FMA / Vought Pampa 2000 took place on May 25, 1993 under the command of American pilot John Hoffman at the Fort Worth, Texas facility. After intensive evaluations and hundreds of hours of flight, the Pampa 2000 received excellent reviews for its flight characteristics, reaching the end of the contest very well positioned.
However, in mid-1996 and with more than a year of delay in the original calendar, the Department of Defense selected, for reasons of cost, the Swiss model turboprop Pilatus PC-9, whose modified version was named in the United States as Beechcraft T-6A Texan II.

Lockheed Martin AT-63 Pampa Series

When the management of President Carlos S. Menen privatized the FMA to Lockheed Martin, the industrial complex was renamed Lockheed Martin Aircraft Argentina S.A. (LMAASA). The contracts of the Argentine government with LMAASA included the manufacture of 18 of the 36 A-4AR Fighting Hawk; the maintenance of the FAA’s transport fleets, and the updating and modernization of the IA-63 with 21st Century technology, thus seeking to complete the original requirement of the FAA.

The brand new and fully modernized Pampa modified its nomenclature by using the attack and training English name, Attack-Trainer, and by differentiating from the pre-modernization model, then formalizing it as Lockheed Martin AT-63 Pampa Phase II. Subsequently, the Argentine government set a formal requirement for 60 new units with the option of 12 trainers for the Naval Aviation Command (COAN), which was approaching the end of the useful life of its Aermacchi / Embraer EMB-326GB Xavante trainers.
This order would be frozen due to the permanent delays in payments to LMAASA by the presidencies of Presidents Fernando de La Rúa and Eduardo Duhalde.
Finally in 2005, the first modernized prototype called by LMAASA flew as AT-63 Pampa Phase I. This aircraft headed the modernization of the 11 remaining aircraft of the first original of 1987. To this segment were added between 2007 and 2008, 6 new aircraft for the Argentine Air Force, which proceeded to name all modernized aircraft as Pampa Phase II.
Phase II maintains advanced training capacity, but emphasizes armed training as well as combat operations.
The new generation AT-63 Pampa Phase II maintained on the one hand the ease of maintenance and the excellent flight characteristics of the original IA-63, adding an advanced avionics suite specially designed to facilitate the transfer of this aircraft to the A-4AR Fightinghawk and the F-16A Fighting Falcon that at that time were expected to incorporate to the Air Force, being this last acquisition canceled by the De la Rúa administration.
The power plant of the AT-63 was re-motorized with the Honeywell TFE-731-2C turbofan. This new reactor offered as novelties a digital computer FDEC and a better relation of fuel consumption in relation to the power.
The Pampa Fase II AT-63 avionics was developed based on the Honeywell HG-764 navigation system equipped with a GG1320AN girollaser associated with a Class III GPS and QA-2000 accelerometers, which gives it excellent accuracy for navigation and attack under any condition meteorological and visibility.
The data presentation systems included a Head Up Display (Eye Height Presenter) EI-Op SU-967, with a color video image recording system, with a repeat function in the rear position. Also included were two polychrome screen data presentation (MFD) active liquid crystal 5 x 7 inches (12.5 x 17.5 cm) model P3 from Elbit Systems, which allowed the simultaneous display of two menu or options to choice, one in the upper half and one in the lower half.
It is noteworthy that finally the FAA for a cost reason only requested a single MDF instead of the two originally planned. Secondarily two polychrome mini-LCDs of the ADI (Artificial Horizon) and HSI (VOR / ILS) systems were mounted.
All the instruments are duplicated in the rear position, minus the HUD, but the images of this can be monitored by the pilot instructor in real time through his MFD.
Completing the equipment, the AT-63 Pampa Phase II was equipped with digital systems for the management of armaments, communications and navigation aids. All these functions are programmable and controlled from the digital front panel of the HUD.
The brain that controlled and managed the modern avionics mounted on the AT-63 Pampa Phase II, focused on the Elbit MDP / MMRC mission computer. It has similar capabilities to the AN / AYK-14 that equips the A-4AR but is optimized for advanced training missions. All systems and avionics of the AT-63 are interconnected by a high-speed digital data bus MIL-STD-1553B.
For support missions and ground attack the five weapons supports were maintained, but thanks to the reinforcement of the cell the maximum payload of 1,500 kg, which was a remarkable improvement over the 1,160 kg that the original IA-63 had. As a fixed weapon, a new aerocuar pod for the DEFA 554 30mm gun was designed instead of the old DEFA-552.
At the same time LMAASA, on its own, developed a more advanced version of the Pampa, called Phase III, modified for ground support and attack missions. It included an improved cabin with 3 MFD screens in each flight station, possibility of carrying smart weapons, pod designators, advanced attack avionics with HMD Helmet and the new and more powerful Honeywell TFE 731-40-2N turbofan.
Technical feasibility studies were also carried out for the installation of a multimode radar AN / APG-67 (V) 4, manufactured by Lockheed-Martin. From these studies there is now a functional model in the facilities of Córdoba.
But the cancellation of the contract by mandate of the then President Néstor Kirchner froze Pampa Phase III without any completed prototype.

FAdeA IA-63 Pampa II / II-40

Then in 2009, the administration of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner re-nationalized the former FMA of the Lockheed Martin Aircraft Argentina S.A. (LMAASA), the plant was renamed “Brigadier San Martin Aircraft Factory” (FAdeA).
One of the projects that FAdeA initiated from the beginning of its management was precisely the reactivation of the Pampa program, modifying its nomenclature once more IA-63, making the Phases II and III of LMAASA own developments. FAdeA renamed Phase II as IA-63 Pampa II, and the advanced training version as IA-63 Pampa III GT (Tactical Generation) to Phase III.
In 2012 the former Minister of Defense Arturo Purichelli signed a contract for the motorization of the 18 units in active service in the FAA with the new Honeywell TFE 731-40-2N motor of 3950 pounds of thrust, which would propel the entire range IA-63, now known as the FAdeA IA-63 Pampa II-40 range. This program has suffered severe delays, but until today it has been almost concluded.

FAdeA IA-63 Pampa III

The IA-63 Pampa III is the latest version of the advanced training aircraft of the IA-63 Pampa. Its main differences with the Pampa II lie in its avionics and cabin layout, or cockpit configuration, this being the so-called “Full Glass Cockpit” or “Glass Cabin” in reference to the use of multifunctional liquid crystal displays for the presentation of the flight data of the aircraft, working parameters of its TFE-731-40-2N engine and the new functions offered by avionics. The Pampa III uses three screens per station, six in total, where usually the right screen presents the information of the engine and central and left everything related to navigation, communications and simulation. The information presented can be reconfigured and exchanged between them. The only analogue instrument left is the compass.

To ensure flight safety and minimize the risks and probabilities of electrical failure and, consequently, the loss of this vital information for the crew, the Pampa III incorporates a redundant electrical system, where an emergency battery is responsible for feeding the minimum components necessary to guarantee the display on the screen of the necessary data for an emergency flight (allow the aircraft to fly from its position to a safe landing point). In case of failure of the Mission Computer (heart of the information system to the screens) an emergency team, called ADAHRS (Air Data and Attitude Heading Reference System), replaces it, taking care of providing the attitude information of the airplane in the form permanent, allowing safe flight until landing in emergency situation.
Pampa III has a mission planning system, which includes a data emulation system (EVA – Virtual Emulator Avionics Elbit), which is a training system, where, although it can receive information from earth stations and other aircraft, its main function is to provide training to the student, generating their own virtual information already loaded and scheduled. Another system that can be provided is the HMS (Helmet Mounted System), TARGO, also from the Israeli company Elbit. It is a helmet with mounted avionics, which presents the information in the viewer thereof, which can be observed by the pilot permanently. It has been presented in the “Roll Out” of the plane. Although the three airplanes of the Argentine Air Force do not have it in principle, their use is already planned at the factory and a minimum integration work (mainly software) is necessary to make it operational.

Nationalization of line airparts IA-63 Pampa II / III

Continuing with the path initiated in 2015, FAdeA is moving forward with the nationalization of aeroparts in order to reduce and / or replace those that, due to costs, time or strategic vision, are profitable to manufacture at the national level.
In order to follow this process closely, National and World Defense met in an exclusive interview with the Aeronautical Engineer Juan Manuel Tobio, whose company VDS.SA will be responsible, among other of its numerous projects, for the manufacture of the majority of the hydraulic actuators that will take the FAdeA IA-63 Pampa III that the Cordobesa factory has in advanced state of construction.

Ing. J.M Tobio:

“For this the company is certifying a workshop by ANAC and by DIGAMC for the production of parts and maintenance. In principle, ISO is certified and then AS 9100.
With DIGAMC you can certify both a CEPAD (Center for Aeronautical Production for Defense) that is for the production of parts and where the company is recognized with the capacity to design, manufacture and certify these parts, such as an OMAD (Aeronautical Maintenance Organization for the Defense) which is a maintenance workshop. Certifying as CEPAD, an OMAD is included, since the manufacturer must be able to keep the pieces it builds.
On the other hand, a RAAC 145 certification will be sought, which is equivalent to what is an ANAC maintenance workshop. This allows us to start with non-destructive tests, for example, and everything we develop for the Pampa project is useful for this. In addition these certifications have international validity. That is to say, we also become potential suppliers for third countries, either for the design or replacement of aeroparts and provide them with the corresponding maintenance”.

The work with FAdeA

“With FAdeA we have been working for almost three years in the development of maintenance nationalization of the Pampa. There were maintenance that was not done in FAdeA and sent to be done outside, such as the command PCU, that is, the units that control aerodynamic control surfaces, such as ailerons and rudder. This maintenance was done by the provider of those PCUs, which is German. Today, FAdeA is able to visit them or ask another workshop to cover them. For this, OVH manuals were generated, some already approved by DIGAMC and others in progress.
VDS.SA will build twelve actuators nine of them with double effect of hydraulic drive, and three of electric drive in charge of operating the main train doors (four), nose train doors (two), aerodynamic brakes (two), RAT ( one single opening) and trim or compensators that are electrically operated ailerons (one) and rudders of depth and direction (two).
At the same time we are developing a PCU to master the technology of its manufacture, which is already in its first prototype. .
Also for the PCUs and the double-acting actuators, banks have been developed to cover and start-up, both original units and new units.
It should be noted that the trim, which equip the IA-63 act on the tail surfaces, which are integral.
It will be a road where we calculate that the first component will be placed on the plane in about four months, obtaining its certification in a year and a half. We are manufacturing units for 20 chipsets. For this we are building 400 m2 installations with component integration machines, testing machines, measurement room and engineering offices.
At the same time, by outsourcing the mechanization of some of the pieces, we qualify to workshops or factories in aeronautical quality.
To give an example, for the clutch of the trim, which is a very small piece, looking for options in the domestic market we come to a company that manufactures dental lathes. We regulate the aeronautical quality in the manufacture of that part, converting them into aeroparts, which then VDS Certifies before the aeronautical authority. At the same time we can obtain a nationally manufactured component. Like this company, there are five other locations and we employ the services of three foreigners.
That trim, which weighs 700grs and applies 250kgf, must comply with 160,000 cycles without failure. This does not mean that it does not suffer wear and tear, but even so it must continue working within the established parameters.
All this, in addition to the benefits of the national manufacture of these components and the implicit training of companies for the aeronautical sector, seeks to solve the obsolescence of the Pampa.
On this it is convenient to clarify, the concept of obsolescence.
That an airplane has obsolescence does not mean that the plane is old. But it has components that have already been passed a standard or its supplier no longer manufactures it or does not provide it because of a conflict with the buyer. Then that element becomes obsolete and we will not be able to replace it the day it gets off the plane. In this sense, the Pampa must constantly resolve its obsolescence which, although it possesses it in itself, is not an obsolete airplane although it has been more than thirty years since its first flight since it fully and fully fulfills its main mission and in time. it has been updated, changing its avionics, engine, etc. It would not occur to anyone to say that the C-130, for example, is an obsolete airplane, since over time it was guaranteed that it fulfills its original function.
In turn, this leads us to approach a purpose as a company that is to become international suppliers. And so it is repeated with each company participating in the Pampa project. Then we can also glimpse that when all of this is done, FAdeA will become a trainer of a series of companies that will be able to export at any time. For example, Embraer does not admit suppliers that are not previously suppliers of another company with the same characteristics, it requires that one has an antecedent in the aeronautical industry. This work would place us as a potential supplier, for example, of the Brazilian company. We are also talking to European companies for similar jobs, which leads us to think about setting up in Europe as a real business opportunity “.
Ariel Peral – Exclusive National and World Defense

The exit to the external market

Perhaps the most important part of the program and the biggest challenge for FAdeA is to make sales abroad, to introduce the company in the international market and to place the country at a higher level in regards to the Aeronautics Industry. And it is a no lesser challenge since historically the Cordoba plant has not been able to achieve large sales abroad, and even more, guarantee its operation and logistical support, for various reasons.
The objectives to be fulfilled in this field and those that are being negotiated with potential operators, have to do with those related to covering and guaranteeing the requirements of these future clients, the operational and logistic support in time, the additional systems to the airplane and its services, such as the flight simulator, industrial participation in the purchase or compensation, financing options and in turn the evaluation of the proposals of these future operators.
In addition, in itself the presentation and promotion management of the sale of Pampa III in fairs such as LAAD or Le Bourget is generating an experience that FAdeA did not possess in the field of commercialization. The external market is offering an aircraft with different avionics options subject to the customer’s request, a tried and tested aircraft that has very good performances and flight qualities, with a low operating cost and a unitary value that is competitive and capable of meet the role of light attack. This last point is one of those that has attracted interest in the sector.
The current availability of FAdeA of the product is also very attractive, since cells that are ready to be put on the assembly line are in stock. From these cells you can have an aircraft finished per month, at maximum rate based on the existing tools. If necessary, this rate can be increased by increasing the amount of these tools. This will depend on the delivery times and other conditions.
The role of light attack and air-to-air training in the modern era is a reality that does not escape FAdeA and that is evaluated as feasible and a point to develop from systems related to these operations, be it equipment such as the HMS, incorporation of air-to-air missiles, smart bombs or other guided air-ground weaponry that complements the current capacity to use rockets and free-fall bombs, the 7.62mm Hummingbird pods and its DEFA 554 30mm cannon container. However, it is only considered for the external market and with an order already consolidated by the buyer, not expecting a state order for these systems or complementary developments, of which the aircraft avionics on the other hand supports without problems.

IA-63 Pampa TG (Tactical Generation)

While it is true that the IA-63 has the limitations of a coach, the different upgrades received, the operational experience accumulated over years, plus the nobility of the aircraft design, allows to exploit a quality that the IA-63 always had and which is the light attack, with the advantage of being able to optimize this function by enhancing it through modern systems, as do other LIFT (Lead In Fighter Trainer) in the world, be it the English Hawk, the Czech L-159 or the most modest Italian M-311.
Some data have managed to transcend, revealing that the possible IA-63 Pampa GT will have a refueling system in flight, through the incorporation of a probe, instead of integrating damp points. Adoption of automatic pilot. Incorporation of a storm detection system (Stormscope Systems) and replacement of the current liquid oxygen system with a self-generated one (OBOGS – On Board Oxygen Generation Systems).
In the strict plane of combat capabilities, the adoption of an IRST (Infrared Search and Tracking System) is foreseen, making it possible to acquire and fire a missile of the fire and forget type, avoiding radar emission. A-A missile launch capability of the AIM-9M Sidewinder type. Design and manufacture of a new 30 mm POD. Improvement of the Probable Circular Error of the throwable armament. Adoption of a laser designator. Incorporation of a Satellite Data-Link – interoperable with the SINVICA system (Aerospace Monitoring and Control System). Regarding the configuration, the new IA-63 Pampa GT is likely to be single-seater.
So far some data that managed to filter, they allow us to make some speculations, since we could imagine the incorporation of an ELINT module, Radar Alert System (RWS) and Chaff – Flare dispenser. In addition, the adoption of a helmet of battle of last generation type Elbit Dash (Helmet-Mounted Display-HMD), since the Pampa III Block II will be equipped with the helmet TARGO of training, therefore could be integrated a pure helmet of combat, that even replace the Integrated Navigation and Shooting System (SINT).
Finally, given the adoption of a single-seat configuration for the IA-63 Pampa GT, it would be possible to have about 100 kg fixed in the rear position of the aircraft, so as to be able to accommodate there “intelligent” equipment and systems according to the requirements of the mission. Another possibility would be to allocate that space to accommodate the data processing unit of an airborne radar *.
In general terms and without pretending to leave the LIFT category, version IA-63 Pampa GT would be the most powerful and best equipped. And to prosper, will leave a baggage of skills and knowledge, which will enable FAdeA in the near future, to integrate into more complex programs.
* In times of LMAASA the design of a “nose” was made to accommodate the AN / APG-67 (v) 4 radar of General Electric, while it was foreseen to locate the rest of the equipment in the luggage compartment). Another interesting option could be the synthetic aperture radar Lynx of General Atomics, or Selex Grifo.
By Marcelo R. Cimino

Radar Cross Section of the IA-63 Pampa


The radar cross section (RCS) is a measure of how detectable an object is with a radar. The cross section of the radar is used to detect planes in a wide range variation. For example, a stealth airplane (which is designed to have low detectability) will have design features that give it a low RCS (such as absorbent paint, smooth surfaces, specifically angled surfaces to reflect the signal somewhere other than the source) , as opposed to a commercial passenger plane that will have a high RCS (bare metal, rounded surfaces that effectively ensure that it reflects some signal back to the source, many potholes such as motors, antennas, etc.). The analysis of RCS data plays an important role in the design of military aircraft.
This application demonstrates the calculation of the radar cross section (RCS) for the IA-63 Pampa aircraft.
Simulation model.

⦁ The parameters of the simulation model are the following:
⦁ The airplane model contains 5400 triangles
⦁ The wing range of the plane is 20 m
⦁ The length of the aircraft is 23.5 m and the height is 4.4 m
⦁ 300 MHz and 1 GHz simulation frequency


The RCS for horizontal and vertical polarization is plotted in dBSM as a function of the azimuth angle for 300 MHz and 1 GHz:
Dispersion of the electric field distribution on aircraft IA-63 Pampa for horizontal and vertical polarization is shown below for the 1 GHz frequency.

The calculated RCS comparison with direct MoM and PO solutions is shown below for the 1 GHz frequency:


If we take an average result at 270 ° Horizontal we get ~ 20dBSM
For this we have that our RCS = 10 (Decibels / 10)
Then we calculate: RCS = 10 (~ 20dBSM / 10) => RCS = ~ 100m2


The simulations of the radar cross section of the aircraft (RCS) can be performed effectively in the EMC Studio / EMCoS Antenna VLab environment with direct MoM and PO solutions.

Active service

Its activity is part of that carried out by the Group 4 of Hunting, of the IV Air Brigade. They constitute the fundamental element for the advanced training of the fighter pilots, this being their main service as weapons system, they can be seen in the skies of the province of Mendoza. The 6th Hunting Group of the 6th Air Brigade, in Tandil, incorporated two Pampas II-40 to cover the gap left by the Dassault Mirage IIIEA, Mirage 5A Mara and Mirage 5F Finger IIIB at the end of 2015.

Written by Nicolás Zelaya

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