Contxto – Mexico has just witnessed the creation of a purely Mexican-manufactured military-grade airplane—the Pegasus P-400T V3. This means that it was both designed and built within the confines of the country. Specifically in the southern state of Oaxaca.
What’s perhaps more interesting are the specs this aircraft holds in store. It will apparently be 70 percent cheaper than a similar plane, going form the usual US$11 million a pop, to a mere US$3.
This is due to the technological advances and “new generation” software that Oaxaca Aerospace—an offshoot of its mother company, Traylfer—has designed.
“Our aerodynamic modeling software allows us to update our info at a global level. It is an original design unlike no other,” said Raúl Fernández, Traylfer’s CEO, in a recent interview with La Jornada newspaper.
Latin American aerospace
Despite Fernández’s gushing words, there is an awkward truth that we must address. Considering the size of its population and economy, Mexico has strangely historically lagged in the wholesale construction of aircraft.
Don’t get me wrong. The country is a regional and oftentimes a world leader when it comes to aerospace manufacturing. Just look at the highly developed state of Querétaro in central Mexico.
The difference here is, between a country like Brazil which has a long history of making and designing planes “in house”, Mexico has a long history of manufacturing plane parts—albeit very sophisticated ones. The country last made its own whole plane back in the 1960s, and these were not of Mexican design.
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The divergence stems from long and medium-term geostrategic and political decisions. Brazil’s government has traditionally been more self-sufficiency focused. Meanwhile, Mexico, as of the mid-1990s, has deliberately plugged itself into the trans-national industrial production chain—making the fiddlier, more difficult part of planes.
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This is why the Oaxacan Pegasus P-400T V3 is such a big deal. It is a clear separation from this past pattern.
Now that’s how you leapfrog
It makes sense, therefore, that the entity to commission this plane would be the Mexican Army. If you’ve got to do something where national security is at stake, you’d better do it on your own.
For similar reasons, Oaxaca Aerospace has been prohibited from adding any firepower capacity to its planes. This is, and will continue to be, the sole prerogative of the Mexican State when it takes possession of these aircraft.
But, who needs guns when P-400T seems to have all the bells and whistles?
For starters, beyond the reduced cost of the plane itself, the cost of running it will be cheap as well. Take into account the fact that it guzzles 75 percent less fuel on average than a similarly-sized craft.
Next, consider the fact that the thing can fly at night—which apparently is something other similar aircraft can’t usually do.
Beyond all these savings in purchasing and operational costs there is a social benefit to all this:
It is very important to remember that the Mexican state of Oaxaca is one of the poorest, least industrialized, and most often overlooked in the country. Therefore, such a high-tech project will undoubtedly boost the local economy.
The state is will on its way to leapfrogging from underdevelopment to highly sophisticated manufacturing, and the country as a whole going from no planes to some of the most attractive planes on the market.
But don’t hold your breath: you’ll have to wait until 2022 for these sky-Priuses to get off the conveyor belt and into international markets.
But, if you can’t wait, there is another way to get involved. If you are keen to get on the fun, Oaxaca Aerospace recently announced that it will be seeking investors. So keep your eyes peeled and your pocketbook at the ready.
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