Canadian industry is eyeing the nation’s long-term need to train its military pilots, and thinking outside the box as part of the process – particularly with the Lockheed Martin F-35 in mind. Like Chinese out of the box (read on).
Two long-term partnered training systems are already in place: the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) deal with Bombardier (contracted to run until 2020) and the Contracted Flying Training & Support deal with Allied Wings (out to 2027).
What’s missing is a multi-year agreement on meeting Ottawa’s Contracted Airborne Training Services (CATS) requirements. A rolling interim deal with the Top Aces company was recently extended and will now run through June 2013, using privately-flown Alpha Jets and Challenger business jets.
Lining up a more permanent CATS deal is now on the industry agenda, with possible candidate airframes having been revealed by an Allied Wings official at IQPC’s Military Flight Training conference in London today.
It was no surprise to see the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 and Korea Aerospace Industries T-50 on one of the official’s slides when talking about options to acquire an aircraft that could be made to handle like an F-35 for adversary-type activities. Inclusion of the non-fly-by-wire BAE Systems Hawk 128/T2 seems a polite nod to a valued NFTC equipment supplier.
Noting that other candidates could also be considered, our briefer also included a shot of Hongdu’s developmental L-15 (above). A dark horse it may be, but with CATIC having already been spoken to for general data, it’s clearly not a joke suggestion.