Argentine President Mauricio Macri and Minister of Defense Oscar Aguad have presented three new IA 63 Pampa III aircraft that were built by Argentine state-owned aircraft manufacturer FAdeA. The aircraft, with production licence plates 1028, 1029, and 1030, are expected to be delivered to the Argentine Air Force before the end of the year, following completion of flight tests.
After a decade with no production, operations have restarted at FAdeA. Much of the activity is being generated by the Pampa III program. Argentina planned to acquire 40 IA-63 Pampa II aircraft. However, in January 2014, the MoD cancelled the order in favor of developing the Pampa III, powered powered by a Honeywell TFE731-40R engine and featuring new Elbit avionics suites. It also includes seven extra stores hardpoints and an in-flight refueling probe. In August 2015, a Pampa II rebuilt to the Pampa III standard flew for the first time. Another Pampa III prototype flew in April 2016. While Argentina intends to acquire 18 trainer aircraft and 22 light attack aircraft, six are currently on order. The most recent order came in March 2018. Argentina also plans to sell the Pampa III to other countries.
The aircraft will be used for both training purposes and to intercept aircraft used by drug traffickers to transport their illicit goods. The aircraft will be stationed along Argentina’s northern border, where most incursions by drug traffickers take place.