AT63 Pampa

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The newest version of the AT-63 Pampa was designed by Lockheed Martin for the Argentina Air Force for use as a training aircraft. Production of the Pampa is being completed in Argentina by Lockheed Martin Aircraft Argentina S.A. The first demonstrator aircraft was completed on December 15, 2004 and flight tests began on June 30, 2005. The original Pampa was the IA-63, manufactured by Lockheed in the late 1980’s.

Lockheed Martin had intended that the newer AT-63 would be an inexpensive trainer and light attack plane for Argentina and other countries with small military budgets. When Lockheed unveiled the trainer during the Paris Air Show on June 19, 2001, they had high hopes that many countries would express interest in the plane. Unfortunately for Lockheed, Argentina has been the only country to purchase the AT-63, and they’ve purchased only 12 of the aircraft to date.

The low-cost AT-63 Pampa has an integrated weapons system, mission computer, glass cockpit, and a modern avionics suite. The jet features dual controls for a student and optional instructor, and the cabin is fully pressurized. The ejection sequence can be pre-programmed and the one-piece canopy can be fragilized if an emergency occurs before the plane becomes airborne.

More information about the Lockheed Martin AT-63 is provided here:

Maximum level speed: 815 km per hour (440 KTAS)
Cruise speed at 30,000 feet: 650 km per hour (350 KTAS)
Stall speed: 152 km per hour (82 KCAS)
Takeoff run: 1,410 feet
Landing roll: 1,510 feet
Maximum climb: 5,120 feet per minute
Range: 1,140 nautical miles
Ceiling: 42,300 feet
Length: 14.49 feet
Wingspan: 31.78 feet
Height: 14.07 feet
Maximum weight: 11,038 pounds
Empty weight: 6,217 pounds
Engine(s): One Honeywell TFE-731-2C turbofan engine with 3,500 pounds of thrust
Crew: Two
Armament: Four under wing and one under fuselage weapons stations for air-to-air and air-to-ground light attack capability
Contractor: Lockheed Martin

References:
Lockheed Martin

F16 Falcon

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Since its inception in 1975, more than 4,000 F-16 Fighting Falcons in 110 versions have been produced. In addition to the United States Air Force, 24 additional countries have chosen the fourth-generation fighter to serve in their military. Some countries have purchased used F-16s from those mothballed by the U.S. Air Force.

The F-16 Fighting Falcon is capable of flying missions in total darkness and under difficult weather conditions. It was the first fighter plane to use fly-by-wire electronic flight controls with angle of attack and limiting Gs. These features enable the pilot to perform aggressive maneuvers without risk of structural failure or loss of control.

The F-16 has a solid reputation as a superior dogfighter. The frameless canopy enables improved pilot visibility and the side-mounted stick maximizes pilot control even when under tremendous G-forces. In fact, the F-16 Fighting Falcon can capably endure 9G turns!

Primarily, the F-16 has been deployed in Middle Eastern conflicts, more so than in most other conflicts situations. Israel has used F-16s against Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon beginning in 1981. During the Soviet-Afghan War, Pakistan used F-16s to destroy Afghan and Soviet aircraft.

The Fighting Falcon flew for the United States in 1991 during Operation Desert Storm and again in 1998 when Operation Desert Fox required an extensive number of bombing sorties. From 2001 until present day, the Falcon has seen service in Afghanistan for the U.S. military. In 2003, Operation Iraqi Freedom relied heavily on the F-14 when U.S. forces invaded Iraq.

The F-16 Fighting Falcon remains in production and modifications continue. Some of the more recent changes have involved replacing the older avionics with new technology as well as replacing some of the antiquated weaponry with more effective armament. Here are some basic specifications for the General Dynamics F-16:

Maximum speed: Mach 2+
Range: 3,200+ miles
Ceiling: 55,000+ ft
Length: 49 ft 5 in
Wingspan: 32 ft 8 in
Height: 16 ft
Maximum weight: 42,300 lb
Empty weight: 18,238 lb
Engine(s): one Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220 or one General Electric F110-GE-100 afterburning turbofan
Rate of climb: 50,000 feet per minute
Crew: One
Armament: Combination of guns, missiles, rockets, and bombs
Contractor: General Dynamics

If you are a current or former military pilot and would like to submit an article about your experience or a story about the F-16 or any other aircraft (whether military or civilian) then please contact us so we can help you share your stories with other veterans, military pilots and aircraft enthusiasts.

FA-18 Hornet

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The FA-18 Hornet is an all-weather fighter jet that can be deployed on land or on an aircraft carrier. The airplane completed its first flight on September 13, 1978 and it remains in production today, although the current model is vastly different from the original FA-18. In addition to serving in the United States Navy and Marine Corps, the FA-18 Hornet serves the military needs of other countries as well, though none employs it as a carrier-based aircraft. The FA-18 Hornet is flown by the Blue Angels aerobatic team.

The FA-18 Hornet is primarily used as a Navy escort fighter, reconnaissance aircraft, and for destroying ground-based air defenses. It was originally developed as a replacement for the A-7 Corsair, F-4 Phantom, and A-4 Skyhawk.

The Hornet often flies missions shared by the F-14 Tomcat and Super Hornet. The most current version is the FA-18E/F Super Hornet, which is not technically an upgrade of the FA-18 though it’s based on certain aspects of the Hornet’s design. Mostly, the Super Hornet employs a 25% larger airframe than the Hornet.

The FA-18 is extremely maneuverable because of its digital fly-by-wire control system, thrust to weight ratio, and the wings’ leading edge extensions. Unlike conventional aircraft, the Hornet is easily controllable even when at high angles of attack. Though this might normally result in a stall, the FA-18 can generate sufficient lift due to the plane’s configuration and design, in particular because of the wing extensions. Such stability is the primary reason why the FA-18 makes for a superior dogfighter. Even without its incredible speed, the FA-18’s maneuverability makes it difficult to shoot down from air or ground-based defensive systems.

Due to its superior performance and tactical weaponry, the FA-18 Hornet will doubtlessly remain in service for many years to come with deployment world-wide.

Here are some specifications:

Maximum speed: Mach 1.8
Range: 330 mi
Ceiling: 50,000 ft
Length: 56 ft
Wingspan: 40 ft
Height: 15 ft 4 in
Maximum weight: 51,550 lb
Empty weight: 24,700 lb
Engine(s): Two General Electric F404-GE-402 turbofans
Rate of climb: 50,000 feet per minute
Crew: one
Armament: Combination of missiles, rockets, and bombs
Contractor: Boeing

If you are a current or former military pilot and would like to submit an article about your experience or a story about the FA-18 Hornet or any other aircraft (whether military or civilian) then please contact us so we share your stories with other veterans, military pilots, and aircraft enthusiasts around the world.