Paraguay shows interest in Argentine Malvina trainer aircraft
The Paraguayan Air Force (FAP) and Argentinian aircraft manufacturing company Fábrica Argentina de Aviones (FADEA) signed a ‘declaration of interest’ on 18 April in Asuncion, the Paraguayan service reported.
The document is the first step for a potential future purchase of an undetermined number of FADEA’s IA-100 Malvina trainer aircraft, the Argentinian company added.
The agreement with Paraguay is ‘the first time the company has signed this type of agreement with a foreign military service', said the Argentinian MoD on 24 April.
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Andrei Serbin Pont, an international affairs analyst and director of Argentina-based think tank CRIES, told Shephard that FADEA designed the IA-100 'with the explicit intention to export it, with the objective of obtaining Latin American and African clients'.
The IA-100 is still at the prototype stage. The aircraft has a wingspan of 9.9m, a range of up to 1,090km, a service ceiling of 5,486km, and an endurance of 4.5 hours.
The trainer has a two-seat side-by-side configuration and ‘will be built entirely in composite material,’ according to FADEA.
The IA-100 programme commenced in 2014, but almost a decade later, the aircraft are still not being mass-produced. ‘FADEA has experienced some delays, but the financing [for the trainer program] obtained in 2021 runs until December 2023 to develop and certify the aircraft, commence production, and deliver the first aircraft to the Argentine Air Force,’ said Serbin Pont.
The analyst added that the objective is for the IA-100 to replace the Argentine air force’s Beechcraft T-6C Texan II and Grob G120 trainer platforms.
The FAP meanwhile operates the Chilean ENAER T-35 Pillán aircraft for training purposes. The service had yet to reply to a query from Shephard about whether the potential acquisition of the IA-100 means that the Pillán fleet will be decommissioned at the time of publication.
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