Argentina’s Ministry of Defense authorized the upgrade of three IA-58 Pucará aircraft to the new Pucará Fénix standard, as reported by the Zona Militar website.
The work consists of replacing the old Turbomeca Astazou engines with the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT-6A-62, installing four-blade propellers, as well as various electronic equipment including an ISR pod and AESA radar, among others.
In October 2019, Fuerza Aerea Argentina presented the Pucará Fénix during the retirement ceremony of the original aircraft, developed in the country by Fábrica Militar de Aviones (FMA), currently FAdeA, in the 70s.
In addition to the technical update, the Pucará Fénix would take on another type of role, that of surveillance and border patrol.
Later, a test aircraft began flying to certify the use of the PT-6 engine while the Air Force sought resources for the upgrade program.
According to the Zona Militar, Argentina’s Ministry of Defense has earmarked about $640 million to enable the conversion of the twin-engine turboprop. The aircraft are already at the FAdeA facilities to go through the upgrade process.
Fuerza Aerea Argentina hopes to have the Pucará Fénix in service for at least 15 years.