The United Arab Emirates has selected the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master to fulfill its advanced trainer and combat support requirement. The UAE Air Force and Air Defense (AFAD) plans to acquire 48 Masters for lead-in fighter training and light attack duties.
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.
The first seven Eurofighter Typhoons for the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) are now in final assembly at the Warton, UK facility of BAE Systems. The company will say only that the first flight is planned for “later this year.” The date of the first delivery to the Kingdom is known to be June 2009. The first 24 of the 72 Typhoons that are being supplied to Saudi Arabia are being assembled at Warton.
“Contractorization” may be an ugly word, but for Lockheed Martin and Britain’s VT Group, it is pretty good business. Their joint venture, called Ascent, last month won a £635 million ($1.25 billion) contract to provide the military flying training system (MFTS) for UK armed forces over the next 25 years. During that time, a further £6 billion ($11.8 billion) could be spent on training aircraft, simulators, equipment and services.
Marshall Aerospace is proposing a significant upgrade for the RAF’s Tucano trainer, in conjunction with the original manufacturer, Bombardier subsidiary Short Brothers.
The Yak-130 advanced jet trainer is not cavorting about the skies over Farnborough, but company executives are on hand at the Irkut stand (Hall 1 E8) to discuss its capabilities and give an update on the program.
It might seem strange that the aerospace world awaits with such anticipation Singapore’s choice of advanced jet trainer, especially since it will probably involve no more than a dozen aircraft. But, as Alenia Aermacchi’s CEO Carmelo Cosentino remarked here at the show, “Singapore is one of the most sophisticated and demanding customers in the world–and we like that because we have the best product.”
Alenia Aermacchi expects to soon ink an order for 18 SF-260 primary trainers from the Philippines National Defence Department as part of a package aimed at modernizing the Asian nation’s armed forces. The Philippines armed forces have been using SF-260 trainers since the early 1970s, when they took the first of an order for 46 piston-powered aircraft, replaced in 1991 by 18 SF-260TP turboprops.
Negotiations continue between the UK and Saudi Arabian governments over the details of Project Salam, the agreement to supply 72 Eurofighter Typhoons to Saudi Arabia. Major decisions still have to be taken on the avionics and weapons configurations, and on the arrangements to produce and support the aircraft in Saudi Arabia. Final assembly of the first 24 aircraft, and training of the first Royal Saudi Air Force crews, will be done in the UK.
The UK Royal Air Force Red Arrows make a return appearance to the Dubai Air Show. Flying nine Hawks, the team is a crowd pleaser wherever it performs. Joining the Reds are the Patrouille de France flying Alphajets and Patrulla Aguila of Spain in CASA 101s. See videos of all the flying displays on AINtv.com.