The Aircraft Factory in Córdoba was the first in Latin America. By mid-century it became a remarkable industrial center that produced, among others, one of the first military jets: Pulqui I. Such experience was the basis for the development of Pulqui II, an outstanding fighter and one of the fastest aircraft in the world.
Founded at the dawn of the aviation industry, in 1927, the Military Aircraft Factory started assembly of three aircraft under European license. By 1931, headed by the Military Engineer Bartolomé de la Colina, it designed and manufactured the Argentine aircraft, Ae.C.1 followed by a family of aeronautical products up until the end of the decade. In 1939 and 1940 the FW44J and the Curtiss Hawk 75 were assembled under license.
In 1944, the Major Engineer Juan Ignacio San Martín became Director and the factory began a significant expansion. By 1952 it already employed more than 9000 workers and became IAME (Industrias Aeronáuticas y Mecánicas del Estado – State Aeronautical and Mechanical Industries), which manufactured not only aircraft, engines, propellers and accessories but trucks, cars, tractors and motorcycles. The DL-22 aircraft, designed in company, was the driving force of its significant growth with the manufacturing of 2 series of 100 aircraft each. This aircraft was powered by “el gaucho” engine, also manufactured in Córdoba.
With the I.Ae.22 “DL” program, which was included in the first Five-Year Plan, the factory decided to outsource spare parts manufacturing to private companies, thus generating the birth of 300 factories and workshops in Córdoba. The factory, also known as Instituto Aerotécnico (Aero technical Institute) in 1943, supervised technology transfer to those companies providing technical assistance and economic support as required. This scenario set the basis for the future settlement of the first Automobile industries, such as Fiat in 1954 and Kaiser Argentina.
The I.Ae 27 Pulqui I, first jet designed and manufactured in South America, flew for the first time in 1947.
The I.Ae. 33 Pulqui II flew in 1950, a fighter with technology comparable to the best of its time and able to fly at 1.050 kilometers per hours. Five prototypes were built at that time. Between 1940 and 1955 only argentine-designed aircraft were manufactures. After the 1955 Revolution, an abrupt change in the Factory plans reintroduces manufacturing of aircraft under license (T-34 Mentor, Morane Saulneir MS 760 Paris, Cessna).
By the end of 1960s, the IA-58 Pucara was born, an excellent support and light attack aircraft, which was also exported to other countries. At present, it is under modernization process.
In 1984, the advanced trainer IA-63 Pampa flew for the first time. It is now being produced under a modernized version.
During the military dictatorship in 1970s and by decree of the Ministry Martinez de Hoz, IME (Industrias Mecánicas del Estado – State Mechanical Industries) was closed. The Rastrojero truck was no longer manufactured to encourage foreign automobile company’s investment and three thousand people were left unemployed. This process deepens in 1990s when the national government signs a concession agreement with the American company Lockheed Martin, one of the biggest defense contractors in the world.
The privatization lasted 15 years and during that time the emphasis, investment and resources in general were put on maintenance services. In 2009 the national government, during the presidency of Cristina Fernandez de Kirtcher, purchased the company stock share from Lockheed Martin and gave origin to the new Fábrica Argentina de Aviones “Brig. San Martín” S.A. (FAdeA).
FAdeA intends to recover and modernize the Argentine Aeronautical Industry, introducing leading technology, engaging with strategic partners in the region and developing new production processes to reach world standards of excellence.