Air Weapons

FMA

IA 58 Pucará

Virtually unknown before the Falklands War, the FMA IA 58 Pucará (a type of native stone fortress) came as an unexpected surprise during the campaign in the South Atlantic. It had originally been built by the state-owned Fabrica Military de Aviones in Córdoba as a light counter-insurgency aircraft against rebels and guerrillas operating inside Argentinian territory during the 1970s. Engines were imported from France although armament (which included bombs, rocket pods, torpedoes and mines) was almost purely indigenous. They saw action during the Falklands War where a total of 24 Pucarás were either destroyed or captured one of which was evaluated by the RAF. Production continued after the war and a small number were exported to Uruguay, Colombia and Sri Lanka while a number of more advanced versions were planned but never actually ordered.

First prototype of what was then known as the Delfín flew on 20 August 1969 but was fitted with Garret turboprops which were eventually replaced by the French-built Turbomeca Astazou in the production IA 58A. A single IA 58B was equipped with 30-mm cannon and more powerful engines while the IA 58C was set to be the definitive version with greatly improved avionics and weapons including air-to-air missiles but was never built.

Preceded by:

None

Succeeded by:

None

Datafile

DesignIA 58A
NamePucará
TypeCounter-Insurgency
Year1976
Crew2
Dimensions
Length14.25 m
Height5.36 m
Wing Span14.50 m
Wing Area30.3 m²
Weight
Empty4,020 kg
Maximum6,800 kg
Wing Loading224.4 kg/m²
Performance
Speed500 km/h
Ceiling10,000 m
Range3,705 km
Powerplant
Engine2 x Astazou XVIG
Turbomeca
729 kW
Thrust/Weight0.44
Armament
Guns2 x 20-mm
Payload1,500 kg
Hardpoints3
Production
Built114
Total116