Teams Line Up For Polish Trainer Bid
Poland is looking for a new advanced trainer that can replace its current Iskra jets from around 2015, to complement PZL Orlik primary/basic trainers. Eight new aircraft are being sought in a tender for an integrated aircrew training system for the country’s air force. With Czech company Aero Vodochody having dropped out, three companies have recently responded, in the form of Alenia Aermacchi (M346), Lockheed Martin (KAI T-50) and BAE Systems (Hawk AJT).
The latter two companies have recently concluded deals with two Polish air force maintenance divisions to support their aircraft. WZL 1 would expand its operation at Deblin as part of the BAE Systems team, while WZL 2 at Bydgoszcz would provide MRO services for T-50s if selected.
Lockheed Martin’s offer of the T-50 is based to an extent on its compatibility with the Polish air force’s front-line F-16 fleet. The company’s Polish proposal is in many ways based on the UK’s military flying training system (UKMFTS) that is run by Ascent, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Babcock. Somewhat ironically, that program uses the Hawk AJT for its advanced phase.
Just before the Paris show Ascent announced that the UKMFTS program had produced its first four pilots. The training system uses computer-based training and simulators to download flight scenarios from training aircraft, and the Hawk AJT to download some elements of tactical training from front-line aircraft.