Tag Archives: Fábrica Argentina de Aviones

Argentina desperately seeking Mirage

Cash-low Argentina is so desperately seeking new fighter jets, that it is looking to put budget priced French fighter jets from the 1970s back in the air.

The defence minister of the Latin-American nation recently paid a visit to France, trying to have Paris agree to an affordable price tag for 12 Dassault-made fighter jets retired by the French Air Force (Armée de l’Air). Buenos Aires is looking for six Mirage F1s plus six Mirage 2000s, or a dozen of either one of the types. A 2013 deal with Spain seems to have hit the sand barrier somewhere.

FAM IA 58 Pucará

To Argentina’s main conservative daily newspaper, La Nacion, Mr. Julio Martinez also said he is hoping that France would like to provide new engines so that the Argentine Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Argentina) is able to bring 20 IA 58 Pucará ground attack and counter-insurgency aircraft back into the sky. Fábrica Militar de Aviones (FAM) produced 110 of these two-engine propeller aircraft between 1976 and 1986, with the type still operational in both Argentine and Uruguay.

An Argentinian made  Fábrica Militar de Aviones (FMA) IA 58 Pucará, here in service with the Uruguayan Air Force (Image © Ralph Blok)
An Argentinian made Fábrica Militar de Aviones (FMA) IA 58 Pucará, here in service with the Uruguayan Air Force (Image © Ralph Blok)


Despite its known good operational status and relatively low cost for flight hours and maintenance, Buenos Aires is said not to seek purchase of the US-made Lockheed Martin F-16 that is flown – among others – by neighbouring Chile. An official reason for not buying the F-16 other that “not in the interest of the nation” has not been given. For some time even a wild story circulated that frustrated policy makers in the Argentinian capital were looking for a Russian bomber solution.

A former IAF Skyhawk, now working for a civil contractor. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A-4s similar to this former Israeli example were grounded in Argentina in January 2016 (Image © Elmer van Hest)

A-4 Fightinghawk

The Fuerza Aérea Argentina has currently no fighter jets on strenght, after the 22 remaining McDonnell Douglas A-4AR Fightinghawks and three (O)A-4ARs were grounded at Villa Reynolds Airbase in January 2016 because of the lack of spare parts and other airworthiness issues. Earlier the service decommissioned its Dassault Mirage III and IAI Fingers / AMD M5 Dagger units at Tandil Airbase. That leaves the nation with only 32 IA 58 Pucarás on frontline duty, of which many are down for maintenance.

An AT-63 Pampa II (Image © Fábrica Argentina de Aviones)
An AT-63 Pampa II (Image © Fábrica Argentina de Aviones)


The about two dozen FMA IA 63 Pampas (35 ordered) are not suited for combat, and the 14 remaining Embraer EMB-312 Tucanos can only be used for limited ground support and counter-insurgency operations.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com senior contributor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): Retired French Air Force Mirage F1s might be put to new use in Argentine skies (Image © Marcel Burger)

Argentinian Pampa one mighty strong airframe

An AT-63 Pampa II (Image © Fábrica Argentina de Aviones)
An AT-63 Pampa II (Image © Fábrica Argentina de Aviones)

The Argentine Air Force Pampa II advanced jet trainer and light attack aircraft seems to be one mighty strong airframe. With the right pilot at the controls that is, according to a recent press release by the US Air Force.

It was an American pilot who managed to land an AT-63 Pampa II with only 20 percent of its left wing remaining. USAF Maj Douglas Witmer, on exchange with the 4th Brigade 1st Squadron of the Fuerza Aérea Argentina (FAA), was flying as an instructor pilot in a 6-ship formation over Cordoba in Argentine on 10 August 2012. All of a sudden Witmer’s wingman made an aggressive aerial manoeuvre, slamming his plane into Witmer’s aircraft in front of a crowd of aviation enthousiasts.

The mid-air collision resulted in the loss of 80 percent of the left wing and several key controls on Major Witmers plane. Against all odds, the USAF exchange instructor pilot was able to maintain some sort of control of the Pampa II. According to the USAF press release Witmer “diverted his aircraft away from a nearby crowd of spectators and the aircraft formation and instructed the student aboard his aircraft to prepare to eject. Judging his aircraft to be damaged but airworthy, Witmer was able to avoid ejecting from the aircraft and landed at a nearby airport, which had a longer runway and greater rescue facilities.”

For his outstanding flying skills Maj Witmer recieved a special award (2013 Koren Kolligian Jr. Trophy) on 14 November 2013 at the Pentagon in Washington.

Source: USAF