Argentina's new AT-36 Pampa trainer, a modernised version of the original FMA IA-36, is expected to make its maiden flight this week. Alberto Buthet, president of Lockheed Martin Aircraft Argentina, which builds the aircraft, told Flight Daily News that 12 surviving IA-63s will be converted to the new configuration for redelivery from January 2006, with 12 new-build AT-63s following from May 2007.

Though remarkably similar in appearance to the Franco-German Alpha Jet, the Pampa is a much lighter aircraft, powered by a single 3,600lb st Honeywell TFE 731-2C turbofan - though the new version may be fitted with a 4,200lb st TFE 731-40.

With a combination of good, benign low speed handling characteristics, competitive performance and very low operating costs, the AT-63 is being aimed at air forces who want a single straight-through trainer to bridge the gap between streaming/elementary training and frontline fast jets.

Source: Flight Daily News