Jul 9, 2014
Jordan to arm donated IOMAX Block 1 BPAs, UAE to order Block 3 aircraft
This new capability will allow the BPA aircraft to carry six GBU-58 250 lb precision-guided bombs and/or six AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. Additionally, precision strike weapons training will begin immediately for the Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF). The intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR)/weapons training and weapons integration will be completed with operational employment of the platforms to occur by the end of the third quarter of 2014.
When the Block I IOMAX aircraft were first donated to Jordan by the UAE in the latter half of 2013, they were handed over in an unarmed configuration to be used purely for ISR duties. However, with all six aircraft now operational with the RJAF, the US government has approved IOMAX to proceed with weaponising these platforms.
Once armed, the six BPAs will join the RJAF's two Airbus CN235-100M gunships, and six Cessna C208B Grand Caravan turboprop command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) platforms. The RJAF recently announced its intention to convert one of its Airbus C295 tactical transport aircraft into a gunship also.
While the Jordanian aircraft will not be equipped with a gun at this time, IOMAX plans to integrate the GAU-19B 12.7 mm (.50 calibre) Gatling gun pod onto the Block III aircraft currently being developed for the UAE and other potential export customers; dubbed Archangel. The gun is being supported in the UAE by a number of former US Air Force Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II pilots who are now advising the UAE government.