Lockheed details T-50 offer to Poland

Warsaw
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Lockheed Martin UK has unveiled some details of an offer submitted for the Polish air force's advanced jet trainer (AJT) system competition tender for the Polish air force.

The company on 23 May said its offer of the Korea Aerospace Industries/Lockheed T-50 "would provide significant operational synergies with the current Polish air force [Lockheed] F-16 fleet". According to John Neilson, Lockheed Martin UK's director of communications for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, "the aircraft which will be included in the proposal for Poland would be built outside Poland. This is to be expected for the number now required to meet Poland's need".

"When selecting the best training platform to accompany our bid, fleet commonality and the ability to meet Poland's evolving pilot training requirements for the next 20 to 30 years were key considerations," says Tim James, who is part of the Lockheed Martin UK team in Poland.

If the bid is successful, it is believed maintenance of Polish air force T-50s would be performed at the WZL-2 Military Aviation Works in Bydgoszcz. Lockheed already has a strong relationship with the organisation through the F-16 programme, and recently opened a new paint stripping facility at the site. However, Neilson notes: "We may also be in discussion with other partners too."

Another element of the Lockheed proposal would be to establish a state-of-the-art training centre at the Polish air force academy in Deblin. This would be based on the Ascent Flight Training facility at RAF Valley in the UK, which is operated by a Lockheed Martin UK and Babcock International joint venture.

Warsaw should select a winner for its eight-aircraft requirement before the end of 2013. Other candidates are the Aero Vodochody L-159T1, Alenia Aermacchi M-346 and BAE Systems Hawk AJT.