The FMA IAe 33 Pulqui II (in the indigenous language Mapuche, Pulqúi: Arrow) was a jet fighter aircraft designed by Kurt Tank in the late 1940s in Argentina, under the Perón government, and built by the Fábrica Militar de Aviones (FMA). Embodying many of the design elements of the wartime Focke-Wulf Ta 183, an unrealized fighter project, the FMA envisioned the IAe 33 Pulqui II as a successor to the postwar Gloster Meteor F4 in service with the Fuerza Aérea Argentina. The Pulqui II’s development was comparatively problematic and lengthy, with two of the four prototypes being lost in fatal crashes. Despite one of the prototypes being successfully tested in combat during the Revolución Libertadora, the political, economic and technical challenges faced by the project meant that the IAe 33 was unable to reach its full potential.
After his appointment as project director for a new indigenous fighter program, Tank adapted the basic Ta 183 airframe for the Nene II engine, resulting in a new design that bore only a passing resemblance to its forebear. The Nene was larger, heavier and more powerful than the Heinkel HeS 011 turbojet that had been planned for use in the Ta 183,[N 3] and therefore required a new, redesigned fuselage with a larger cross-section primarily due to the Nene’s centrifugal compressor rather than the HeS 011’s axial compressor design.
In September 1955, the sole remaining Pulqui II prototype was pressed into action in the Revolución Libertadora, a coup d’état led by General Eduardo Lonardi against Perón. The exact details of its participation are unknown, but when rebel forces commanded by Lonardi captured Córdoba as their first conquest, together with the Meteor F 4s fighter-bombers stationed at the Córdoba Escuela De Aviación – SACE (Military Aviation School), the IAe 33 was enlisted in the struggle. After flying combat missions against Perónist stalwarts, it later appeared in a flyover during the victory parade at Córdoba celebrating the triumph of the coup over loyalist forces.
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