Argentina's state-owned Fábrica Argentina de Aviones SA (FAdeA) has delivered the first upgraded IA-58 Pucara turboprop light ground attack aircraft to Argentinian Air Force on Dec. 15.
Designated IA-58H, aircraft is the first of 20 Argentinian Pucaras that will undergo upgrade which will extend its service life by another 25 years.
Upgrade involve structural modifications to house the new Pratt & Whitney Canada PT-6A turboprop engine rated at 950 shp, integration of modern avionics with new navigation and communication systems, new fuel supply and oxygen systems.
The PT-6 is a widely used and popular turboprop engine with commercial and military versions known for its high reliability. In order to retain IA-58 Pucara's short take off and landing (STOL) capability the P&WC has added propeller pitch control to assist in braking.
The engineering design and manufacturing of the wing structural modification of the first test aircraft to accommodate the new engine were carried out by Israel Aerospace Industries. The first upgraded Pucara prototype flew in November 2015.
The two-seat twin engined IA-58 Pucara was developed in the late 1960s by FAdeA as a counter-insurgency (COIN) aircraft powered by two French Turbomeca Astazou turboprop engine rated at 978 hp each.
It is a low-wing all-metal monoplane with tandem seating and retractable landing gear, capable of operating from unprepared strips. The unswept cantilever wings have 7 degrees of dihedral on outer ends.
The type saw action during the Falklands War between Argentina and Britain, and the Sri Lankan Civil War.
Fixed armaments include a 20 mm cannons mounted under the cockpit and four 7.62 mm Browning machine guns mounted on the sides of the fuselage. Three hard points are fitted for carrying external stores such as bombs, rockets or external fuel tanks with a total capacity of 1600 kg.