Israeli air force trainer slection – “A list of factors”

A request for proposals for the selection of an advanced trainer for the Israeli air force (IAF) will be issued soon. It is expected the final selection will be made early next year.

The two competing aircraft – the Korea Aerospace Industries T-50 and the Aermacchi M-346 – have been extensively evaluated by the IAF.

Sources say the two are very good advanced trainers, and that the selection will be based on “a list of factors”.

The winner will be assembled in Israel, in a special assembly line to be built at the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) facilities.

IAI and Israel-based Elbit Systems have teamed up to purchase the advanced trainer and sell flight hours to the IAF.

Italy and South Korea have promised to increase “defence business” with Israel if their product is selected – selection by the IAF has a big added value beyond the direct contract.

Sources said Italy has promised subcontracting for Israeli companies in the country’s aerospace industry. The nation may also purchase Israeli-made weapon systems.

The sources went on to confirm that Italy has signed a memorandum of agreement for cooperation with Israeli aerospace and defence industries. One part of the agreement details cooperation in the space industry, mainly satellites.

South Korea is also a potential market for Israeli systems. In recent months, the South Korean defence ministry has been evaluating some Israeli air systems, including unmanned air systems.

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