Peru, Pakistan Asking About Korean DragonflysAug 25, 2008 12:02 UTC by Defense Industry Daily staff
The A-37 Dragonfly was developed from the T-37 Tweet trainer as a counter-insurgency support aircraft, whereupon it was sent to Vietnam and became only aircraft to undergo operational testing in actual combat. The jet’s slow speed, excellent maneuverability when performing close air support, maintainability on the ground, and ability to carry its own weight in ordnance made it a popular and effective choice on the front lines. Several Latin American air forces still fly the A-37, and now Pakistan and Peru have expressed interest in the A-37Bs used by South Korea’s Black Eagles aerobatic flight team since 1994. The Black Eagles’ A-37Bs are slated for replacement by South Korea’s own supersonic T-50s.
In January 2008, KOIS reported that Peru’s air force chief of staff had asked about Korea’s A-37Bs during his October 2007 meeting with Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) commissioner Lee Sun-hi. Peru already operates the A-37B with Grupo Aereo 7 at Piura, near its northern border with Ecuador. Its air force is a mix of Russian and Western types, but budget issues and low readiness are often cited as problems with the fleet.
Pakistan requested engine parts, and possibly aircraft, via a diplomatic channel in May 2007. The Pakistani Air Force does not operate A-37s in an attack role, though its ongoing civil war may make that option attractive. It does operate T-37 Tweet trainers at its Academy in Risalpur, however; they are scheduled for withdrawal once the K-8 Karakorum (aka. Hongdu JL-8) arrives in sufficient numbers, but until then they will need to be maintained.
UPDATE: The USA approved the sale of 20 T-37s to Pakistan in August 2008, in return for the cost of shipping them.