The FMA IA 58 Pucará ('Fortress') is an Argentine ground-attack and counter-insurgency aircraft manufactured by the Fábrica Militar de Aviones. It is capable of operating from unprepared airstrips when operationally required. When Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands in 1982, 25 Pucarás were deployed to three airfields on the islands. In the ensuing conflict, these aircraft had little success in use against British ground forces but a Pucará did shoot down one Scout helicopter. All the Falklands based Pucará aircraft were either destroyed in combat or captured by British forces. Our aircraft was one of those captured, and is known to have been flown against British Forces during the battles around Mount Kent.
There is no service history held by the IWM. What is known is that the first Pucaras from Grupo Aerea 3 de Ataque landed at Port Stanley on the 2nd April 1982 (aircraft numbers A-523, A-529, A-552 and A-556). A-549 joined the rest of the squadron on the 29th May piloted by First Leiutenant Ayerdi. It carried out various armed escort missions for Chinooks and on the 10th June was involved, along with 3 other Pucaras, in an attack on 42 Commando RN who had recently taken Mount Kent. This Mission was not a great success due to the LAU61 missile pods failing to fire due to technical problems and the fact that 4 Harriers were sent to combat their threat. Late on the 13th June, 4 Pucaras, A-515, A-522, A-533, and A-549 were equipped with 2x315ltr drop tanks and 3 LAU 61 pods to make a dash back to Argentina but this didn't happen due to the surrender of the Argentinian forces on the 14th June. A-549 and A-515 were dispatched to the UK on the cargo ship Atlantic Causeway on the 12th/13th July and arrived at Davenport on the 27th July. On the 28th July A-549 was air lifted by Chinook to Yeolvilton for an Air day they had on the 31st July but the main plane and canopy were damaged during the flight by a failed lifting sling and was therefore considered un-airworthy. It was then transported to Boscombe Down on the 9th August. To avoid any similar damage to A-515 it was dissassembled and trucked to Boscombe Down on the 1st August. A-549 was given the serial number ZD487 by the RAF. Little history is known after this point. This Pucara was captured in nearly complete condition and shipped to Britain at the end of the Falklands War. After being briefly displayed in the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton, it joined a number of other example at the Boscombe Down experimental Establishment where one aircraft was rebuilt and flown for evaluation. At the end of the tests A549 was allocated to the IWM and arrived at Duxford in November 1983.