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Argentina develops new machine gun pod for aircraft

Seen being carried by an EMB-312 Tucano during trials, the Tordo is a domestically developed machine gun pod for the Argentine Air Force and an international market. (Argentine Air Force)

The Argentine Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Argentina: FAA) has received the first batch of nine Tordo machine gun pods developed domestically by the General Directorate of Research and Development (Dirección General de Investigación y Desarrollo: DGID).

Fitted with Browning M1919 7.62 mm machine guns, the pods will be used for training across a range of FAA aircraft types.

With development having been concluded in 2021, flight trials were launched later that year aboard the Embraer EMB-312 Tucano turboprop trainer, and earlier in October on Fábrica Argentina de Aviones (FAdeA) IA-63 Pampa III jet trainer aircraft.

The plan is to test the pods for real-world air-to-air and air-to-ground training with the Tucanos of Grupo 3 de Ataque for the first time in November, and to certify them on the Pampas by the end of the year.

The head of the DGID, Brigadier Guillermo Stahl, told Janes that the series-production examples will have some minor modifications, according to the lessons learnt so far.

The pod is made with a duraluminium body, with the detachable front and rear parts made of composite materials. It has a pneumatic system for rearming the machine gun in flight, and an electrical one for firing.

The ammunition is placed under the machine gun. Except for some minor pieces, all components were made by the Área de Material Río Cuarto, workshops, and the final cost of the pod is calculated at around USD5,000 each (without the machine gun).

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