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LMAASA (Lockheed Martin Aircraft Argentina SA) AT-63 Pampa


Type: Basic jet trainer/light attack jet.

Announced in 2001, the AT-63 was designed as a slightly more sophisticated version of the original IA 63 Pampa, manufactured by Argentina's FMA (Military Aircraft Factory). The AT-63 came about under the new owners of the FMA: Lockheed Martin Argentina SA, which took over FMA in July 1995. Two prototype AT-63s were modified from existing IA 63s between 2001 and 2002, but the programme was slowed by lack of funding. In June 2000 it was announced that production would resume on another 12 Pampas for the Argentine Air Force, but to the new AT-63 configuration. However, no orders were received from Argentina due to the financial crisis.

IA 63 Pampa: This designation is applied to the original Pampas manufactured by FMA after the Argentine Air Force initiated the programme in 1979. The Pampa was selected over six other competitors in early 1980 to replace the FMA-built Morane-Saulnier MS.760. Dornier of Germany provided technical assistance, leading to two static/fatigue test airframes and three flying prototypes being built. The first prototype made its maiden flight on 6 October 1984 and the first production aircraft first flew in October 1987. 14 were delivered to the air force from 1988. They equip 1 Escuadron of 4 Grupo de Caza at El Plumerillo, Mendoza. Although another 46 were planned to be ordered, only one was delivered and that was an aircraft assembled from existing components and delivered on 28 September 1999.

AT-63 Pampa Phase II: The basic AT-63 variant is the Phase II aircraft, which boasts a new processor for the Digital Electronic Control Unit (DECU) and a new avionics suite by Elbit, which consists of a MIL-STD-1553B databus, mission computer, Inertial Navigation System/Global Positioning System (INS/GPS) integrated weapons system, a liquid crystal Multifunction Display (MFD) in each cockpit and a front cockpit Head Up Display (HUD).

AT-63 Pampa Phase III: The Phase III aircraft is an advanced proposed version to have a structurally enhanced wing able to withstand +7/-3 g, a 1 928 kg (4 250 lb) thrust TFE731-40R engine, nose-mounted laser rangefinder, fin-mounted radar warning receiver, conformal chaff/flare dispensers and another two hardpoints on the outer wings, each rated at 170 kg (375 lb), for air to air missiles. It would also have strengthened landing gear to increase the maximum takeoff weight.

Pampa 2000 International: The Pampa 2000 was an entry by Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV) into the United State's Joint Primary Aircraft Training Program (JPATS), which was organised to find a replacement trainer for the Navy and Air Force Beech T-34 and Cessna T-37B trainers. LTV decided to find an international partner for the project and the company of choice turned out to be FMA.

Three IA 63s were sent to Dallas, Texas and modified to meet the JPATS requirements. Fuels systems were modified, the cockpit layout was changed and new avionics were added. Other changes included an upgrade of the environmental control system, stronger landing gear and revised ejection seats. The second IA-63 prototype was lost in a crash in the United Kingdom on 31 August 1992, just before the Farnborough Air Show.

All three Pampa 2000s were upgraded and one was shipped to Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, for testing by the Air Force and Navy. The evaluation took place in August 1994 and lasted 10 days, in which the aircraft performed impressively. However, the Raytheon (Beech) T-6A Texan II turboprop won the contest and so ended the Pampa 2000 programme.

$8 to $9 million for the Phase II Pampa, including the proposed Lockheed Martin AN/APG-67(V)4 multimode radar.

An FAA Pampa in flight

The Pampa is intended to function as a cost-effective pilot trainer (hence the single engine), a lead-in fighter trainer and an anti-narcotics patrol aircraft. The AT-63 provides basic pilot training in such fields as aerobatics, navigation, formation flying and instrument training.

The Pampa is of conventional all-metal semi-monocoque/stressed skin construction. The aircraft has an unswept shoulder-mounted wing of transonic configuration with a leading-edge sweep of 5 degrees and an anhedral of just 3 degrees. Flying controls consist of hydraulically powered ailerons and single-slotted Fowler flaps on the wings. The downward sloping taiplanes are all-moving to enhance control. The sweptback fin has an integral rudder.

The Pampa has a retractable tricycle type landing gear with hydraulic extension and retraction and emergency free-fall extension. A single low-pressure tyre fitted on each landing gear leg, allowing operation from unprepared surfaces. The nosewheel, which retracts forwards, is offset 10 cm (3.9 in) to starboard and can be steered by 47 degrees. The mainwheels retract inward into the underside of the engine air intake trunks.

The AT-63 is powered by a single 1 587 kg (3 500 lb) Honeywell TFE731-2C-2N turbofan in the rear fuselage. A single engined design was chosen to make the Pampa as efficient as possible. Fuel capacity is just 968 litres (213 gallons), with 550 litres (121 gallons) in the integral wing tanks and 418 litres (92 gallons) in a flexible fuselage tank. This tank has a negative g chamber, allowing up to ten seconds of inverted flight. Another 415 litres (91 gallons) can be carried in auxiliary tanks inside the outer wing panels, giving a maximum internal capacity of 1 383 litres (304 gallons). Two external drop tanks of 317 litre (67.7 gallon) capacity can be carried on the centre underwing stations.

Two crew are seated on UPC (Stencel) S-III-S3IA63 zero/zero ejection seats. The rear cockpit for the instructor is raised to give him a good view. The pilots can either eject one at a time or both seats can be fired from either the front or rear cockpit. Dual Hands On Throttle And Stick (HOTAS) controls are standard. The one-piece canopy, with internal screen, is hinged at the rear and opens upward. The cockpits are pressurised and air conditioned by a Honeywell environmental control system which provide a 1 980 metre (6 500 ft) cockpit environment up to a flight level of 5 739 metres (18 800 ft). The crew obtain their oxygen from a 10 litre (.35 cu ft) liquid oxygen converter.

Two independent hydraulic systems (at 207 bar/3000 lb sq in), each powered by an engine-driven pump, power the primary flight controls, airbrakes, landing gear, wheel brakes, wing flaps, emergency and parking brakes and nosewheel steering system. A Honewell ram air turbine provides emergency hydraulic power to the second hydraulic system in case the engine shuts down in flight and pressure drops. In addition, a secondary electricity supply from two sealed lead batteries provides thirty minutes of emergency electrical power.

Avionics are relatively simple (without the optional AN/APG-67(V)4 multimode radar). Communications equipment consists of two VHF/UHF transceivers, intercom and Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) or Air Traffic Control (ATC) transponder. Other avionics includes a VOR/Instrument Landing System (ILS) with marker beacon receiver, air data computer, Automatic Direction Finder (ADF), Attitude/Direction Indicator (ADI), laser Inertial Navigation System with GPS, radar altimeter and air data computer.

Instrumentation consists of a single 127 mm (5 in) HUD and 12.7 x 17.8 cm (5 x 7 in) liquid crystal multifunction display in each cockpit. A second multifunction display in each cockpit is available for export aircraft.

The Pampa is equipped with a total of five external stores stations. The centre fuselage and two inboard wing stations are stressed for 440 kg (970 lb) each while the outboard stations are stressed for 290 kg (639 lb), all at +5.5/-2 g. Weapons include Mk 81/82 bombs, LAU-32/51 and LAU-10 rocket pods, a centreline 30 mm gun pod, two machine gun pods and CBLS 200 practice bomb carriers. The maximum external stores load is 1 900 kg (4 189 lb).

Wing span: 9.69 m (31 ft 9.5 in)
Wing aspect ratio: 6.0
Length: 10.93 m (35 ft 10.25 in)
Height: 4.29 m (14 ft 1 in)
Wheel track: 2.66 m (8 ft .75 in)
Wheelbase: 4.42 m (14 ft 6 in)
Wing area: 15.63 m (168.3 sq ft)
Weight empty: 2 820 kg (6 217 lb)
Max T-O weight: 5 000 kg (11 023 lb)
Max level speed: 814 km/h (402 mph)
Economical cruising speed: 648 km/h (402 mph)
Service ceiling: 12 900 m (42 320 ft)
Range: 2 018 km (1 253 miles)
Ferry range: 2 111 km (1 311 miles)
g limits: +6/-3

Pampa in flight

An AT-63 Pampa outside its hangar

A three-view diagram of the Pampa