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The Argentine Flying Fortress (Hardback)

The Story of the FMA IA-58 Pucará

Aviation Military > Post-WWII Warfare > Falklands P&S History > By Century > 20th Century

By Santiago Rivas
Imprint: Air World
Pages: 272
Illustrations: Mono integrated
ISBN: 9781399097925
Published: 12th May 2023

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In the 1960’s guerrillas were operating in almost all Latin American countries, as well as in Africa and Asia, and the need of specialized weapons to fight them arose. The Argentine Air Force, seeing this threat grow, asked the FMA factory to produce a counterinsurgency airplane to equip the force, but also to offer on the international market. After several proposals were analysed, a final product emerged, called the IA-58 Pucará, a robust twin turboprop aircraft with heavy internal weapons, planned to operate from unprepared airstrips on very hard conditions. The plane entered service with the Argentine Air Force in 1975 and more than 100 were produced over the years, with several versions being developed or proposed.

It was purchased by Uruguay, Colombia and Sri Lanka, the type gained world notoriety when they took part on the 1982 South Atlantic war, but also had combat experience in Colombia and Sri Lanka, and was tested by the Royal Air Force.

Now, with the original version already retired, the Argentine Air Force plans to convert them into the Pucará Fénix version, with new engines and avionics, with new missions too, like intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

While some aspects of its story were described in many publications, most of it has never been told until now, including many unknown proposed versions and details of its operational record, both in Argentina and in the other countries that operated the plane.

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About Santiago Rivas

Born in 1977 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Santiago Rivas started his career as aviation and defence journalism and photographer in 1997. Since then, he has published his material in more than 70 different media around the world. Currently, he is specialized in Latin American aviation and defence matters, both historic and recent. He has published 14 books.

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