Oaxaca is not just a renowned center of culture, art and gastronomy: it is also home to a company that has made a prototype of the first military plane to be designed in Mexico.
The P-400T is a lightweight attack aircraft made by Oaxaca Aerospace, a company founded by the father-and-son team of Raúl and Rodrigo Fernández.
Raúl Fernández, who is also general director of Oaxaca Airspace’s parent company Traylfer, told the newspaper La Jornada that the P-400T was developed using a homegrown design and technology that is 100% Mexican.
Military aircraft were manufactured in Mexico in the 1960s, he said, but they were copies of existing planes, not original designs.
The P-400T, a prototype of which was presented at the 2019 Mexican Aerospace Fair, will cost US $3 million, Fernández said, explaining that the price is much lower than that of similar aircraft which can cost up to US $11 million.
He said the use of modern aircraft design software has allowed Oaxaca Aerospace to become a world-class aviation company before reiterating that the P-400T’s design is “original – it’s not similar to any other.”
The aircraft is part of “a new generation” of fighter planes, he added, explaining that it only uses 57 liters of fuel an hour whereas similar models use as much as 189 liters.
Fernández also said that the plane can be flown at night and features a propeller that helps the aircraft stay in the air longer in the case of a mechanical failure.
Measuring 4.09 meters high and 8.39 meters long, the P-400T will have a top speed of 550 km/h during a maximum flight time of five hours. The cabin of the aircraft can be ejected in the case of an emergency.
According to Oaxaca Aerospace, the P-400T will be an ideal aircraft for maritime patrols and reconnaissance missions. It is capable of making agile evasive maneuvers and engaging in light attack missions.
Fernández explained that Oaxaca Aerospace has a collaboration agreement with the Secretariat of National Defense because only the Mexican state is authorized to install aircraft weapons.
The company is currently seeking additional investment capital and hopes to begin manufacturing P-400Ts by 2022, he said, adding that it will focus on selling the aircraft to developing countries such as Thailand.
Oaxaca Aerospace has also designed and developed a single-engine, two-seater non-military plane. A prototype of the Pegasus, an agile, fast and inexpensive aircraft, was unveiled in 2015.