Archangel®, an armed surveillance aircraft manufactured by IOMAX USA, is designed to provide military and special forces with improved precision strike capabilities against fixed and moving targets over land and at sea.
It is the Block 3 evolution of the Air Tractor AT-802 agricultural aircraft and can be deployed in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), border security, law enforcement, counter-terrorism, maritime patrol, stand-off precision strike, medium / low intensity conflict, and counter piracy, as well as counter-drug, and disaster relief missions.
The aircraft was unveiled at the Paris Air Show 2013 and completed maiden flight in July 2014.
IOMAX received an order from the UAE Special Operations Command for 24 Archangel aircraft in Block 1 and Block 2 configurations in 2009. The first aircraft under the order was delivered in November 2010. The UAE sent its six Block 1 aircraft to Jordan for use in ISR missions in 2013.
IOMAX was awarded a contract to supply Archangel border patrol aircraft for the UAE Air Force & Air Defence (AF & AD) in September 2014. L-3 WESCAM received a subcontract from IOMAX in February 2015 to provide 28 MX™-15D EO / infrared (IR) turrets for integration on the UAE’s Archangel aircraft.
The Archangel border patrol aircraft was offered to the Philippines Air Force (PAF) as a replacement of Rockwell OV-10 Bronco counterinsurgency fleet in June 2014.
Design and features of Archangel aircraft
The Archangel border patrol aircraft is based on the Thrush Aircraft’s S2R-660 (710) airframe. It features a large wing area and a fixed, reinforced landing gear, which facilitates safe take-off and landing on unimproved, dirt, grass and gravel surfaces.
The airplane has a length of 11m and a wing span of 17.4m. It can carry 2,177kg of payloads externally, and has day and night operational capability.
A crew of two are accommodated on the airplane in a dual control, tandem seat configuration to render increased visibility.
- MTV-27 MT Propeller
- Shorter take-off distance
- Reduced audible signature
- Reduced tip erosion
- Increased rate of climb
- Increased cruise speed
- Smoother operation
- Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67F Engine
- Thermodynamic Power Class (ESHP) – 1400 to 1900
- Mechanical Power Class (SHP) – 700 to 1700
- Propeller Speed (Max RPM) – 1700 – 2000
- Fuselage Auxiliary Fuel Tank
- Holds 500 gallons of useable fuel
- Intuitive Fuel Management System
- Avionics Bay
- Easy access for maintainers
- Houses avionics gear
- Space for avionics options
- Dual Cockpit
- Glass Cockpit
- Front Pilot/Rear WSO Tandem Seating
- Human Factors Designed
- Night Vision Capable
- Demand Flow Oxygen System Ready
- Intuitive Instrumentation
- AMSAFE Seat Belt / Airbags
- Tactical LOS VHF/UHF Comms
- Military – Secure/Nonsecure
- Strike Mission Capable Cockpit
- Pilot Armament Control
- WSO Target Selection/Tracking/Designation/Situational Awareness
- Wing Area and Main Fuel Tanks
- Large area designed for heavy payload capacity
- Total wing fuel is 228 gallons
- Fixed Landing Gear
- Designed for rough field operation
- Low Maintenance
- Spring Reinforced for Hard Landing Survivability
- Threat Warning Systems
- UV Missile Warning System
- Radar Warning Receiver
- Countermeasure – Flare and Chaff
- Surveillance Capability
- Gimbaled and Stabilized EO/IR Sensor with Laser Range Finder and Illuminator
- Pod or Fuselage Mounted
- Integrated LOS Full Motion Video Data Link
- Targeting Capability
- Gimbaled and Stabilized EO/IR/LRF/LI with Laser Designation
- Pod or Fuselage Mounted
- Integrated LOS Full Motion Video Data Link
- Weapon Armament System
The aircraft incorporates air conditioning system, lightning protection system, flame detection system / fire warning system, emergency fuel jettison, and oxygen systems.
Armament fitted to the IOMAX border patrol aircraft
The aircraft can be armed with a variety of air-to-ground missiles and bombs including 12 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, 10 250lb GBU-58 Mk-81s and six GBU-12 Mk-82 laser-guided bombs, 24 Roketsan Cirit laser-guided missiles, and up to 12 UMTAS AGM laser-guided missiles.
12 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles
Hellfire is an air-to-ground, laser guided, subsonic missile with significant anti-tank capacity. It can also be used as an air-to-air weapon against helicopters or slow-moving fixed-wing aircraft.
Hellfire can be used as an air-to-air or an air-to-ground missile. The Air-to-Ground (AGM)-114 provides precision striking power against tanks, structures, bunkers and helicopters. The Hellfire missile is capable of defeating any known tank in the world today. It can be guided to the target either from inside the aircraft or by lasers outside the aircraft. Source military.com
24 Roketsan Cirit laser-guided missiles
The CIRIT laser guided missile system features an aerodynamic structure. It can be fired from the standard CIRIT pod and intelligent launch pod developed by Roketsan. The intelligent pod provides two-way data communication and inventory information, which enhances the weapon’s effectiveness.
The missiles can also be fired from a smart launcher with double and quad pack designs and with the MIL-STD-1553 and MIL-STD-1760 military interface.
CIRIT measures 70mm in diameter and 1,900mm in length, and weighs 15kg, excluding the tube assembly. The weapon is stored in a canister and its tube assembly facilitates easy loading and unloading from the canister.
The missile is equipped with multi-purpose, anti armour, anti personnel, incendiary, high-explosive warheads with insensitive munition (Type V). Source army-technology.com
12 UMTAS AGM laser-guided missiles
The UMTAS precision-guided missile has a length of 1.8m and a diameter of 160mm, and weighs 37.5kg. It features four short wings mounted in the middle section and four aerodynamic control fins in the tail section for flight control.
A nose-mounted imaging infrared (IIR) seeker or laser seeker provides high-target accuracy for the anti-tank weapon.
The missile has the ability to operate in both fire-and-forget and fire-and-update operation modes. The fire-and-forget mode enables the weapon to travel on its own path after illumination of the target.
In fire-and-update mode, the operator can update target information or switch targets while the missile is in flight. The mode also allows the operator to receive real-time intelligence and perform battle damage assessment.
Data transfer between the missile and the launch platform is provided by a two-way RF data link.
The UMTAS missile system also features lock-on before launch and lock-on after launch capabilities. Source army-technology.com
Six hardpoints, three under each wing, are provided to carry the weapons. The AGM-114 Hellfire missiles can be mounted in the IOMAX Dual Rail Launcher, while the Cirit rockets are stored in a quad pack launcher. The IOMAX Dual Ejector Rack is equipped to carry GBU-58 Mk-81 and GBU-12 Mk-82 laser-guided bombs.
IOMAX Dual Rail Launcher
IOMAX Dual Ejector Rack
The aircraft also features one centerline hardpoint under the fuselage for mounting additional munitions or reconnaissance / strike / data link pod.
Cockpit and avionics of Archangel border patrol aircraft
The Archangel armed surveillance aircraft features front and rear night vision compatible (NVG) glass cockpits equipped with CMC’s Esterline Cockpit 4000 avionics suite.
Three 5in x 7in multi-function displays (MFD) and one up front control panel (UFCP) are provided in the front cockpit whereas the rear cockpit is fitted with one 5in x 7in MFD and one UFCP. A mission computer is installed to drive the MFD and the UFCP.
The avionics suite consists of a range of systems including Cobham CVN-251 VHF Nav navigation system, STEC System-2100 autopilot, Honeywell KRA-405B radar altimeter, Bendix / King KTA-970 traffic collision avoidance system, and L3 GH-3900 Electronic Standby Instrument System, Artex ELT 1000 emergency locator transponder.
It also include Cobham CDM-451 distance measuring equipment, Honeywell IRU Laser Ref VI inertial reference unit, Becker ICS DVCS 6100 radio / intercom control system, Dukane DK-120 underwater beacon, Blue Sky GPS based data / voice, and L3 TACAN+.
Sensors and survivability equipment aboard the Archangel
The airplane incorporates advanced surveillance and targeting systems to capture real-time imagery and video, and provide improved situational awareness. The sensor suite consists of L3 Wescam MX-15 or Star SAFIRE 380 HLD electro-optical / infrared (EO / IR) camera, Avalex AVM-4177 N EO / IR display sensor, Aero Computer AK-4 software mission keyboard, Aero Computer UC-5300 moving map system, and AVR-8414 digital video recorder.
IOMAX FLEXIBLE POD
1 EO/IR/LRF/LDISR and Targeting
2 Full video Data Link
3 Common Missile Warning System + CM
4 Radar Warning Receiver + CM
5 SAR/MTI/MTT Radar
6 Weapon Data Link
7 A-A UAV Command & Control
L3 Wescam MX-15
- No external electronics unit, direct support of peripherals reduces aircraft wiring
- Installed weight reduced by up to 50 lb/22 kg
Multi-Sensor Imaging/Lasing Payload Options
- Currently supports up to 6 sensors simultaneously
- Superior HD imaging resolution from Electro-Optical (EO) and Infrared (IR) cameras
- Pseudo-Color IR
- HD SWIR
- High sensitivity color spotter
- HD low-light step-zoom spotter
- Advanced Video Tracker (AVT)
- Embedded MTI
- Blends EO and IR imagery
- Spectrally-rich image yields detail that would be invisible in individual senor images
Enhanced Local Area Processing (ELAP)
- Real-time image enhancement for EO day, EO night & IR
IR Image Processor (Local Area Processing)
- Greatly enhances image detail and scene contract
- Increases dynamic range, reduces noise, performs electronic zoom
High-Performance IMU & MX-GEO Software Suite
- IMU & MX-GEO work to create accurate target location
- MX-GEO automatically aligns to the aircraft
- Robust automatic image focus
- 4-axis gimbal with internal IMU
- All payloads are fully-stabilized
WESCAM MX-Series Commonality
- Common operator interfaces and Hand Controller Units (HCUs)
- Simplified interchangeability
- Efficiencies in product support and technology enhancements
- Ease and familiarity of use
Aero Computer UC-5300 moving map system
ViewSync3D™ was designed as an affordable modular upgrade to the UC-5300 mission management system. Building upon the mapping and targeting capabilities of the UC-5300, ViewSync3D™ adds augmented reality overlays of street lines and roads on live video. Source aerocomputers.com
Archangel also features communication and navigation radios, UHF / VHF /F M and SATCOM communications, transponders, line of sight video downlinks, TERMA AN/ALQ-213 missile warning system, and an optional Selex SEER radar warning system. An IOMAX armament control system is installed to control the weapons.
MASE pod for Archangel / TERMA AN/ALQ-213 missile warning system
Terma has provided IOMAX USA with the self-protection suite – based on its Modular Aircraft Self Protection Equipment (MASE) pod – for the Archangel intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) light attack aircraft being supplied to the UAE.
The self-protection suite selected for the Archangel uses twin MASE pods (fitted on underwing hardpoints port and starboard) configured with missile warning sensors and countermeasures dispensing systems, all tied into Terma’s cockpit-mounted ALQ-213 Electronic Warfare Management System. Source janes.com
Archangel propulsion and performance
The Archangel border patrol aircraft is powered by Pratt & Whitney’s PT6A-67F turboprop engine, which has a generating capacity of 1,600shp. The engine drives a five-bladed MTV-27 MT propeller. Maximum take-off gross weight of the aircraft is 14,800lbs and the fuel capacity is 670 gallons.
Pratt & Whitney’s PT6A-67F turboprop engine
The aircraft’s cruise and maximum speeds are 180ktas and 210ktas respectively, while the maximum altitude is 25,000ft above mean sea level, range is 1,350nmi at a speed of 175ktas, and endurance is more than 10 hours.Main material source airforce-technology.com
Images are from public domain unless otherwise stated
Main image by Tim Wright
Revised May 16, 2021