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Archangel light attack aircraft proliferates, supports USAF training

The US Air Force (USAF) has become a customer for contract close air support (CAS) training using the IOMAX Archangel light attack aircraft, which appears to be proliferating for CAS roles.

The converted crop-duster aircraft is suited to the CAS training role in part because of its USD882 per-flying-hour cost, low compared with fast jets, according to Seamus Flatley, IOMAX’s vice-president for business development.

In a presentation at a recent IQPC CAS Summit in London, Flatley told delegates that IOMAX supplied an Archangel for ‘dry’ CAS currency training for joint terminal attack controllers (JTACs) from the USAF’s 118th Air Support Operations Squadron for the first time during a series of exercises at a range in North Carolina, staged between May and September 2018.

The predecessor Border Patrol Aircraft (BPA), an IOMAX version of the Air Tractor AT-802U, has been similarly exploited for dry CAS training by the Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF). Aircraft of this type were contributed by the RJAF, alongside some of its F-16A fast jets and AH-1F attack helicopters, to an in-country exercise organised by a Canadian-led multinational mobile training team in 2017 for Jordanian Armed Forces JTACs.

The RJAF has a total of six modified ex-United Arab Emirates (UAE) Defence Force AT-802U Block I BPAs, which were originally delivered by IOMAX equipped for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions only. However, the company has since furnished these with a full (Block II) weapon delivery capability, incorporating the weapon computing system, pylons, and improved avionics that it first introduced aboard the Archangel. The RJAF also received four L3 Longsword AT-802L aircraft originally built to fulfill a Yemeni requirement, but these were in an unarmed configuration and are understood to have not been kept in a flyable condition.

The IOMAX Archangel has been used to train USAF JTACs. (IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings)

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