US firm Iomax is displaying an armed variant of the Thrush S2R-T660 turboprop aircraft in the static park.
Dubbed ‘Archangel’, the same airframe appeared at the show in 2013, but has subsequently been heavily modified to create a production standard attack aircraft.
Modifications include moving the tandem cockpits forward 43 inches, which improves visibility and safety. Moreover, the aircraft now has ballistic protection against 7.62mm rounds, self-sealing fuel tanks, and carries several weapons, ranging from 2.75 inch rockets up to laser guided bombs. It also features a electro-optical/infra-red (EO/IR) sensor pod on its centreline station.
Ron Howard, president and owner of Iomax, says the company has a close working relationship with Turkish weapons maker Roketsan. One weapon on display under the Archangel’s wing is a four-round pod for Roketsan’s 2.75 inch Cirit guided missiles, which the company has tested successfully against both stationary and moving targets. The aircraft can carry a total of 48 Cirics.
One weapon notable for its absence is a gun. Howard says that the Archangel is optimised to operate at 16-25,000 feet, making a gun impractical.
This week the United Arab Emirates will take delivery of its first Archangel from a 2014 order for 24 examples. Previously, Iomax adapted 24 Air Tractor AT-802Us for the UAE, of which six have been transferred to Jordan.
Howard says that the company had taken attack aircraft modifications of the AT-802 crop-duster airframe as far as possible. The Thrush S2R-T660 airframe that forms the basis of the Archangel offering is built to Iomax specification, and has no capability as a crop-duster.