Embraer confirms interest in UK's basic trainer contest

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Embraer confirms that its EMB-314 Super Tucano is a "feasible" candidate for the UK Royal Air Force's pending requirement for a new basic trainer, and that Elbit Systems is a potential partner for the contract.

The Super Tucano is usually offered as an advanced turboprop trainer or light attack aircraft, but Embraer's market analysis indicates that the UK's basic flying training programme is an opportunity.

"In the initial analysis we made, the Super Tucano would be feasible," says Jairo Sotério, Embraer's senior manager for defence marketing and business development.

 
© Embraer
Brazil uses the EMB-314 as a trainer and light-attack aircraft

The UK's previous decision to buy BAE Systems' Hawk 128/T2 as an advanced jet trainer means the RAF does not need a high-performance turboprop in the basic training role, Sotério says.

Teams led by BAE Systems, Cobham/Cassidian and Elbit are competing for the requirement as part of a wider fixed-wing aircraft service provision deal under the UK Military Flying Training System (MFTS) programme. The first two bidders are known to be offering the Pilatus PC-21 and Beechcraft T-6C as part of their respective bids.

"Elbit is one of the companies we've been talking to," says Fernando Ikedo, Embraer's vice-president of defence market intelligence.

Final proposals for the fixed-wing training service are due in the first quarter of this year. Ascent, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Babcock, will then conduct a final competitive phase for the aircraft service provider for the basic training requirement.

Ascent is responsible for delivering the UK's future air crew training under the 25-year MFTS programme, which will also encompass its rotary-wing requirements.