Singapore is about to announce that it has shortlisted the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 for its advanced jet trainer requirement, after eliminating the Korea Aerospace Industries/Lockheed Martin T-50 from the competition.
"The South Koreans have been informed that the T-50 is no longer in contention, even though Singapore has not yet signed a contract with Aermacchi," says an industry source familiar with the discussions.
"We expect a formal announcement in a few weeks."
© Alenia Aermacchi
If confirmed, the decision would represent the second major setback for the T-50, which also previously lost out in a battle to meet a 48-aircraft requirement with the United Arab Emirates.
However, the UAE has yet to sign a deal with Alenia Aermacchi following its selection of the M-346 in late 2008, and the T-50 is understood to be back in contention.
Singapore, which is seeking a replacement for its Douglas TA-4 Skyhawk trainers, narrowed its AJT contest to the two types in 2008, when it rejected a BAE Systems proposal using the Hawk 128.
Alenia Aermacchi is already under contract to produce an initial batch of T-346As for the Italian air force, with the first two due for delivery in December. The company is also offering the twin-engined design to meet the future requirements of the US Air Force, as the T-100 Integrated Training System.