Aermacchi is trying to convince Malaysia to extend the service lives of its MB339A trainers and to buy new MB339CDs rather than transition to a fleet of only BAE Systems Hawks.

As an incentive, the Italian manufacturer is offering Kuala Lumpur a free five-year service extension to its seven remaining MB339As, even if it subsequently rejects its MB339CD proposal. Aermacchi says the MB339As must undergo inspection within the next year and that some bushings must be replaced if they are to remain in service beyond the approaching 25-year point. The company is offering to inspect the fleet and replace some parts free of charge, as long as serious repair work is not required.

Aermacchi says it has already inspected two aircraft on a trial basis and found them to be in good enough condition to only require minor work to fly for another five years. “All the technical information is in,” it says. “We’re just waiting for the go-ahead.” The company is not promoting its new M346, as it says the design will not be ready in time to meet Malaysia’s urgent requirement.

Source: Flight International