LOCKHEED MARTIN Aircraft Argentina SA (LMAASA) performed the first flight test of the AT-63 Pampa at its facility in Cordoba, Argentina, on June 23. This demonstrator for the new Pampa configuration, converted from third prototype EX-03, was first rolled out at Cordoba on December 15 last year, and has since successfully completed all necessary ground tests, culminating in the first flight. This new-generation Pampa advanced trainer and light attack aircraft provides for easier maintenance and better airframe stability than the earlier variant, having an upgraded cockpit and digital avionics suite, plus MIL-STD-1553B data bus architecture and advanced mission computers with more reliability to support advanced weapons systems. Despite problems with funding in recent years, the Pampa programme was reactivated in February 2004, when LMAASA was awarded two five-year contracts by the Argentine Government. These covered the upgrade to AT-63 configuration of the 12 surviving Fuerza A6rea Argentina (FAA — Argentine Air Force) Pampas, together with production of 12 new-build AT-63s. Six of these will join the FAA, with the other six being available for export, although customers have yet to be found.
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