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.
Trade and marketing consultants Garsol Management Innovators of Makati City, the Philippines, have announced plans for the formation of an international flying school at Clark Field. This former U.S. Air Force base was abandoned some 10 years ago following the eruption of nearby Mount Pinatubo, which deposited large quantities of volcanic ash on the field.
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.”
Aviation Technology Group, the Colorado-based developer of the Javelin personal jet, and Israel Aircraft Industries have initiated detailed design work on two variants of the airplane intended to serve the world military training market.
Deliveries of six Hawk Mk 129s to the Royal Bahraini Air Force (RBAF) by BAE Systems beginning in the middle of next year will highlight the company’s continuing efforts to promote its advanced jet trainer in the highly competitive Middle East market. On August 26, the first of six aircraft destined for Bahrain made its first flight at BAE’s Warton facility in the UK.
The Korea Aerospace Industries/Lockheed Martin T-50 Golden Eagle could capture a large proportion of future world orders for advanced jet trainers. This transpacific joint venture made its aerial debut at the Seoul Air Show last month, and is now taking to the international stage here at Dubai 2005 this week. It is the first new, supersonic purpose-built jet trainer to fly in 40 years. The Koreans are very proud of it.
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