Fabrica Argentina de Aviones SA [Fadea] "Brigadier San Martín"
Area Material Cordoba
In 1995, the Argentine government privatized Fabrica Argentina de Aviones SA [Fadea] "Brigadier San Martín", the former Area Material Cordoba, and Lockheed Martin Aircraft Argentina S.A., was formed. Due to the chaotic state of the Area Material Cordoba facilities when acquired by Lockheed, some counted this as a greenfield project. Lockheed invested $230 million in revamping the facilities for aircraft repair. The term of the privatization of the facility is for 25 years with two additional ten-year options.
The Fábrica Militar de Aviones (FMA) located in Córdoba was founded in 1927 and has produced over 1,300 aircraft of 30 different types. The FMA is a manufacturing center belonging to the FAA. Following Germany's defeat in World War II, Kurt Tank, the Focke-Wulf chief engineer and the designer of such famous airplanes as the Focke-Wulf Fw-190 fighter, restarted his professional life in Latin America. The Argentinean Government offered him the opportunity to work at the Fábrica Militar de Aviones (FMA - Military Airplane Factory) in Córdoba, at the time known as the Instituto Aerotécnico, (Aerotechnical Institute). Kurt Tank, along with many others who had worked with him at Focke-Wulf, moved to Cordoba in 1947.
On 9 August 1947, an Argentine jet prototype known as IA-27 Pulqui I flew for the first time -- the fruit of an idea developed by a French-Argentine group headed by the engineer Emile Dewoitine and assisted by Argentine engineers Ignacio San Martin and Norberto Morcchio, who were working at the Fábrica Militar de Aviones. With the Pulqui in the Cordovan sky, the Argentine aeronautics industry gave a gigantic jump and Argentina became the fifth country in making a jet plane. First there was the German Heinkel He-178, inaugurated the 27 of August of 1939); soon they followed the Briton Gloster E.28/39 (15 of May of 1941), the American Bell P-59 "Aircomet" (30 of September of 1942) and the Soviet Mig-9 "Fargo" (26 of April of 1946).
Later on, on 27 June 1950, the IA-33 Pulqui II, a second Argentine jet prototype, made its maiden flight. This aircraft was the product of similar engineering teamwork, in this case led by the German engineer Kurt Tank. The Pulqui II was a completely metallic aircraft, powered by a Rolls-Royce Nene II with 2315 kg (5100 pounds) of thrust. Its wings had a 40º swept angle, and it was able to reach a maximum speed of 652 miles per hour. However, neither of these two models was ever manufactured in mass production. This omission frustrated a great hope to make the country reach a higher technological level. The fall from power in 1955 of Juan Peron as President meant the interruption in the development of new aircraft at the Cordoba Factory. Most of the engineers composing Kurt Tank's team left Argentina, and Kurt Tank himself settled in India, working for the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) developing the HF-24 Marut supersonic fighter.
The Argentine Ministry of Defense also signed the first five-year contract for the maintenance, modification and modernization of the Air Force fleet in 1995. This contract was followed by a second one, signed in July 2000 which, besides the maintenance of Air Force aircraft, included the manufacture of 12 AT-63 attack-trainer aircraft.
The experience gained by Aircraft Argentina and its new capabilities, such as the modernization of test benches for JT8D testing, provides the company with the ability to offer extensive maintenance, modification and state-of-the-art upgrades for commercial airlines. Aircraft Argentina offers a one-stop-shop with exceptional post-sales service. Aircraft Maintenance, Modification and Upgrade tasks are performed on C-130 Hercules, F-27 and F-28 Fokker, AT-63 Pampa, IA-58 Pucara, A-4AR Fightinghawk, T-34 Mentor and Boeing 737-200 aircraft.
Manufacturing capabilities include manufacturing of aircraft, aircraft parts, assemblies, subassemblies, tooling, jigs and composite material parts. Available technologies include: conventional machining, water jet, heat treatment, CNC manufacturing, metal molding Gantry and conventional press, anti-corrosion treatments and painting processes among others. Engine maintenance, engine repair, overhaul and test, components overhaul and repair, service bulletins and modification tasks are performed on the Allison T-56, Atar 09C, Garrett TFE 731, J-52, T-53 and JT-8D engines.
The administration of President Cristina Fernandez has sought to revive strategic industries such as aviation and nuclear energy where Argentina's advances in those fields during the 20th century were later derailed by political and economic problems. The Fernandez administration reached an agreement with Lockheed Martin to acquire the factory, with the transfer in ownership completed in late 2009. The Defense Ministry now holds 99% of Fadea's shares. Today, Fadea, which employs around 1,000 people [down from a peak of 9,000] and does about ARS400 million ($100 million) in annual sales, survives largely on maintenance contracts with the Air Force.
Fadea has a government contract to build eight new Pampa airframes. The defense ministers of Argentina and Brazil signed a declaration of intent in October 2010 to move ahead with the KC-390 twin-engine military cargo aircraft. The two countries began talks to establish the terms and conditions of Argentina's participation, through Fadea, in the design and production of the aircraft.
Directors of the Argentina aircraft factory (Fadea) announced plans for significant revival of the company, such as a primary trainer to be known as IA-73 whose prototype will be ready by early 2013. this aircraft will allow pilots to pass training in the mentor to the Pampa IA-63, an advanced trainer aircraft, receiving the modernization of its engine and avionics, to make it competitive in the new global aviation market. The Company was in talks to associate with Boeing to compete with the IA-63 Pampa in a contest organized by the United States Air Force for the acquisition of aircraft for the T-X Advanced Trainer Replacement project.
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