Alenia Aermacchi and Italy’s Ministry of Defense signed an agreement at the Paris Air Show to jointly define specifications and collaborate on the development of a new “basic-advanced” jet trainer, the M-345 HET (high efficiency trainer). The new trainer would be a further development of the company’s M-311 design, aimed at entering service between 2017 and 2020.
The fatal crash of an Su-27UBK fighter trainer of the China’s People Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) in late March has called attention to the lack of advanced jet trainers for pilots of China’s third-generation fighters, the Su-27, J-10 and J-11. But although the L-15 has been under development by Nanchang-based Hongdu Aviation Industry Group (HAIG), there is no confirmation from within China that the PLAAF has placed a substantial production order.
The delay in development of India’s intermediate jet trainer (IJT) by government-owned defense manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) has the Indian air force worried, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal N.A.K.Browne told AIN in an exclusive interview. The HAL HJT-36 is intended to replace the aging fleet of Kiran Mk II jet trainers in the Indian Air Force (IAF) by 2015.
A new contract worth $2.5 billion has been signed under the Saudi-British Defence Co-operation Program (SBDCP) to upgrade the pilot training syllabus of the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF). Prime contractor BAE Systems will supply 22 Hawk AJTs (advanced jet trainers), along with 55 Pilatus PC-21 turboprops, and a variety of ground-based training devices.
Italy is the latest country to offer to pool or share military pilot training with other air forces. “We have many years of experience, and were the first to introduce the practice of ‘downloading’ training from more expensive platforms,” said Col Luca Capasso, deputy chief of the T-346 program office. Alenia Aermacchi has provided the new Italian training system as a package that includes the new T-346 advanced jet trainer and all the ground-based training. The contract was signed in late 2009.
Indonesia has provisionally selected the KAI T-50 Golden Eagle as a new jet trainer, and will buy 16, according to the Chosunilbo newspaper in Seoul. The paper said that Korea Aerospace Industries “slashed the price of the T-50 to less than $25 million per jet” to head off competition from the Russian Yak-130.
Following the selection in February of the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master for its advanced trainer and light combat aircraft needs, the United Arab Emirates air force and air defense (AFAD) is focused on its basic trainer requirement to replace the current Pilatus PC-7 Turbo Trainers. The competitors are the jet-powered Alenia Aermacchi M-311 and the turboprop Pilatus PC-21.
Student pilots from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) have begun basic flight training on the Pilatus PC-21 advanced turboprop. Twelve aircraft have now been airfreighted to the RSAF’s Flying Training School at Pearce airbase in Australia and re-assembled. The remaining seven are due for delivery next month. They are replacing Alenia Aermacchi S-211 jet trainers that are now nearly 25 years old.
Although neither the UAE nor Singapore has yet chosen their new jet trainer, both have now eliminated the BAE Systems Hawk from consideration. They continue to evaluate the more modern Alenia Aermacchi M-346 and KAI/Lockheed Martin T-50 Golden Eagle. These setbacks have caused BAE to refocus the Hawk sales campaign on upgrades and through-life support.
Israel has requested the possible sale of 25 Hawker Beechcraft T-6A Texan II basic pilot training aircraft. The Israeli Air Force is the last user of the French Fouga Magister basic jet trainer, which dates from the early 1960s. These aircraft have high fuel and maintenance costs and poor serviceability. If Israel takes all the requested options, the order could cost $190 million.
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