Negotiations are ongoing between the United Arab Emirates government and Alenia Aermacchi over a contract for 48 M-346 advanced jet trainers, with industry sources saying that they could put pen to paper by the end of 2009.
"We are still finalising some of the details, but we are confident that a contract will be signed soon," says Aermacchi. She was unable to say why there was still no end to the negotiations, which began in February.
The UAE announced then that that it had eliminated the Korea Aerospace Industries T-50 and selected the M-346, with some sources indicating that the acquisition could be worth around €1 billion ($1.5 billion).
An undisclosed number of the 48 aircraft will be bought in a light attack configuration, with Alenia Aermacchi to also provide a full ground-based training system including flight simulators as part of the deal. Deliveries are planned to begin 2012.