Three to contest Polish trainer deal as Czech firm withdraws

Warsaw
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Three bidders have submitted preliminary proposals to participate in the next phase of an advanced jet trainer system competition for the Polish air force, with the Czech Republic's Aero Vodochody having withdrawn its interest.

The Polish defence ministry's armament inspectorate confirmed on 7 June that it had received responses from Alenia Aermacchi, BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin UK for the planned eight-aircraft deal.

Alenia Aermacchi, which is promoting its M-346 to Warsaw, says it "will be able to discuss all aspects of the offer for the Polish tender later on".

BAE's business development director for Hawk and training solutions, Phil Hodge, says the company's proposed solution "draws on our experience of working with the Royal Air Force and many other customers around the world" in delivering cost-effective training. "Our proposal also makes use of the capabilities within Polish industry, and we are keen to work with WZL-1, who would provide support services at Deblin if we are successful." he adds.

Lockheed is suggesting that Polish air force pilots graduate on the T-50, which it developed jointly with Korea Aerospace Industries, via a new training programme, similar to that being provided to the UK armed forces at RAF Valley on Anglesey, Wales. Lockheed Martin UK has already teamed with the WZL-2 depot in Bydgoszcz, which would be responsible for the maintenance, repair and overhaul for the T-50. The company describes the type as "the ideal training partner for Poland's modern [Lockheed] F-16 fleet".

"We are also already talking to other Polish companies with regard to their involvement," says Lockheed.

Aero Vodochody is understood to have withdrawn from the competition, as some of Warsaw's tender conditions were not compatible with its legal system.