Egypt is in talks with Iomax over the upgrade and support of its AT-802 counter-insurgency aircraft and acquisition of nearly a dozen Archangel border patrol aircraft.
Iomax has been talking to the Egyptian Ministry of Defence over the support and upgrade of 12 Air Tractor AT-802s that were donated by the United Arab Emirates, according to IHS Jane’s. The company has also been pushing a sale of ten of its Archangel Block II aircraft. Iomax told Jane’s it is concerned that rival L-3 is trying to get Egypt to buy the AT-802L developed by Air Tractor and L-3.
“We have found that Air Tractor and L-3 have been misrepresenting their product in Egypt, but luckily we found this out before it had gone through the DSCA [Defense Security Cooperation Agency], the State Department and the USAF [US Air Force]. We have now corrected that narrative, and are in the final stages of discussions with the Egyptians for the sale of the Archangel,” the Iomax official told Jane’s.
Egypt has apparently submitted a sole source letter of recommendation (LOR) request to the US government for the AT-802L.
The AT-802L Longsword, developed in conjunction with L-3 and Air Tractor, is based on the previous militarised AT-802U, but features a number of improvements. The AT-802U was introduced in 2009 can carry a 3 600 kg payload on 11 hardpoints that includes Mk 82 bombs, Hellfire missiles, M260 rocket launchers and GAU-19 Gatling guns. Useful load is 4 000 kg after armour has been fitted.
According to Air Tractor, the AT-802U is protected by cockpit and engine armour, self-sealing fuel tanks and armoured glass windscreens and windows. The AT-802U can be fitted with a wide variety of sensors, such as retractable L-3 Wescam MX-15Di sensor pod, ROVER video downlink, satellite communications, and secure radios. A Pratt & Whitney PT6A engine provides 1 600 shp, giving a maximum speed of 394 km/h.
L-3 and Air Tractor are now marketing the AT-802L as the OA-8 Longsword, as announced during the recent Avalon Airshow in Australia.
A possible AT-802L sale to Kenya is up in the air after protests from US Congressmen who say Iomax can provide the same aircraft for far less. Congressman Ted Budd claims L-3 and Air Tractor are riding on the success of the Iomax AT-802 and related Archangel to promote their product at far greater cost.
Iomax was originally contracted to provide 24 AT-802s to the UAE before launching the Archangel model. Iomax uses the Thrust 710P as the basis for the Archangel rather than an Air Tractor airframe. Some of the UAE’s AT-802Us have been passed on to Jordan and Yemen, amongst others.
The UAE received ten Block 1 Air Tractor AT-802Us from Iomax between November 2010 and May 2011 and a batch of 14 similar aircraft to Block II standards, modified to carry heavier payloads and with other enhancements, followed from January 2012. Iomax delivered the first 24 Archangel aircraft to the UAE Air Force in June 2015.
It is understood that the type has been used operationally in Libya, Egypt and Yemen in the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and light attack roles.