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16 June 2015

Paris Air Show 2015: IOMAX Showcases ARCHANGEL Precision Strike/Recce Aircraft

IOMAX is demonstrating its new ARCHANGEL armed reconnaissance aircraft during the show in Paris. A variant of the Thrush S2R-T660 turboprop, ARCHANGEL builds on experience gained by IOMAX when manufacturing its Block 1 and 2 AT-802 based Border Patrol Aircraft (BPA) as the company calls them.

IOMAX is demonstrating its new ARCHANGEL armed reconnaissance aircraft during Paris Air Show 2015.

These first generation BPAs were procured by the UAE which subsequently transferred some of the aircraft to Jordan. Archangel too has been conceived for a UAE requirement with the design and development phase of the aircraft starting in November 2012. Company officials indicated that there is now also considerable interest for ARCHANGEL in Eastern Europe. Unlike the AT-802 BPA, ARCHANGEL is purpose built as IOMAX decided to partner with the aircraft manufacturer Thrush Aircraft throughout the design, integration and manufactering processes, this largely as a result of the difficulties experienced when modifying the AT-802 crop dusters into medium altitude, weaponised, ISR platforms. However, the aircraft's two strengths remain the same: the ability to carry a very large payload and its simplicity of design. The ARCHANGEL can operate from unimproved strips for forward arming and refuelling (FARP) operations thanks to its fixed reinforced landing gear. IOMAX touts the aircraft's low acquisition costs and operating costs, claiming that a flying hour would cost less than U$1,000.

Improvements over the standard S2R-T660 include a cockpit that has been positioned forward to improve pilot visibility, self-sealing tank, ballistic protection and an oxygen supply system. Cruise speed has been increased while the ARCHANGEL is also equipped with an enhanced composite propellor to reduce its signature and to improve high altitude performance. When compared to the earlier BPAs, ARCHANGEL features more enhanced mission systems and avionics, all of which are fully NVG compatible, while having better handling qualities. The aircraft's maximum altitude is 25,000 feet while its cruising speed is 180 knots. Maximum endurance is an impressive ten and a half hours.

Optimised for COIN missions, ARCHANGEL can handle armed reconnaissance, CAS, FAC (A) and CSAR while counterdrug, border security operations can also be supported. Compatible with ROVER, IOMAX's latest product features an EO/IR sensor turret, typically a L-3 Wescam MX-15 or FLIR Systems Star SAFIRE 380HLD. Alternatively, a MX-20 could also be installed. The EO/IR turret is fitted in an IOMAX custom designed centerline pod that has been developed as an integrated recce/strike/datalink aircraft store which can also be configured to include missile and radar warning and countermeasures. TERMA's AN/ALQ-213 electronic warfare management system is installed, while it was announced on day one of PAS15 that the configurable Modular Aircraft Self Protection System (MASE), also from TERMA, will also be integrated. A variety of weapons can be hung from the six wing store stations including 70mm laser guided missiles, for instance Roketsan's CIRIT in quad pack launchers, AGM-114 HELLFIRE missiles, GBU-58 and GBU-12 bombs.
Pieter Bastiaans

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