Poland launches new trainer contest

Warsaw
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Poland has revived its search for a new fleet of advanced jet trainers, with its defence ministry issuing a new request for information on 2 April.

Sixteen aircraft are required for delivery between 2015 and 2017, with the selected type to primarily support the instruction of new pilots for the Polish air force's Lockheed Martin F-16 "Jastrzab" fleet. The aircraft will replace the service's PZL Mielec TS-11 Iskras.

Last October, Warsaw cancelled a previous tender which had sought a fly-by-wire-controlled type equipped with an active electronically scanned array radar and air-launched weapons.

These requirements have been removed from the new contest, which instead asks for information about designs capable of simulating the delivery of air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons.

Bidders are required to submit responses by 30 April for 16 aircraft, plus training and logistics support activities and the delivery of a full-mission simulator and other training devices. They should also provide per-hour operating cost information for 200-250h per aircraft during a 30-year service life, plus projections for maintenance.

Poland is asking whether a first group of instructor pilots and students could enter training on the aircraft within four years of a contract signature, and also for proposals on an alternative method to train 10 to 12 personnel per year.

 the t-50 will be rebranded for competition in the us market

© Lockheed Martin

Warsaw's scrapped lead-in fighter trainer competition was between the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 and Korea Aerospace Industries/Lockheed Martin a version of the T-50 (above). Its more modest requirement could attract fresh bids from these companies, as well as from Aero Vodochody with the L-159T1, BAE Systems with a version of the UK's Hawk T2, and Patria offering upgraded Hawk 51/51As, and possibly from civilian training organisations.

Additional reporting by Grzegorz Sobczak