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FMA IA 58 Pucará

Named after a form of South American stone hill fortress, the Pucara's origins can be traced back to the mid-1960's when Argentina's Fabrica Militar de Aviones ( Military Aircraft Factory ) was requested to develop a new combat aircraft capable of performing COIN, CAS and reconnaissance missions. The first flight of the prototype AX-2 Delfin, powered by a pair of Garrett TPE331-U-303 turbo props, took place on 20 August 1969. Subsequent prototypes were re-engined with French Turbom Eca Astazou XVIG turboprops.

The Pucara was designed to operate from roughfield and unprepared sites with the minimum of ground support - a point it proved to good effect during the Falklands War of 1982. Operations are possible by night, but not in adverse weather conditions, and weapons aiming is achieved visually by the pilot making full use of the excellent forward visibility over the Pucara's downward sloping nose.

The production standard IA 58A first flew on 8 November 1974, with deliveries to the Argentinian Air Force commencing just over a year later.

Improvements led to the IA 58B model, the main upgrades being improved avionics and the addition of two 30mm cannon in place of the 20mm weapons.

However, overall production figures have been modest at best, with exports to Uruguay, Sri Lanka and Colombia accounting for less than 20 aircraft in total

Specifications

Country of Origin Argentina
Builder
Role
Similar Aircraft
Wing Span 14.5m ( 47 ft 7 in )
Length 15.25 m ( 46ft 9in)
Height 5.36m ( 17ft 7 in )
Weight empty, equipped 4,037 kg ( 8,900 lb );
MTOW 6,800 kg ( 14,991 lb )
Engine two 988 shp Turbomeca Astazou XVIG turboprops
Maximum speed 500 km/h ( 311 mph ) at 3,000 m ( 9,840 ft )
Cruising speed 430 km/h ( 267 mph )
Range
Service Ceiling9,700 m ( 31, 825 ft )
Armament
  • two Hispano HS804 20mm cannon each with 270 rpg,
  • four FN Browning 7.62 mm cannon with 900 rpg;
  • up to 1500 kg ( 3,307lb ) of free fall bombs, napalm tanks, 70 mm ( 2.75 in ) rockets, cannon pods, two auxiliary fuel tanks.
  • Crew
    Cost
    User Countries Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, Sri Lanka.

    Sources and Resources



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