Aero Vodochody has offered Poland co-production of the L-159 light attack/trainer aircraft and other offset as part of a proposed deal. Poland has a long-standing advanced trainer requirement, but it is unlikely to be fulfilled until after the ongoing fighter competition is settled.

Mielec-based Polskie Zaklady Lotnicze (PZL) and PZL-Swidnik have been identified as possible programme participants.

Aero has also proposed creation of a joint training centre for central European nations at Poland's Deblin aviation academy. Most countries in the region require only a few pilots every year, making a joint facility financially attractive. It would also likely be cheaper to train pilots in central Europe than use established courses in Canada and the USA.

The Czech manufacturer recently demonstrated the L-159B in Poland, during a tour that also included Hungary, Kenya and Slovakia.

Meanwhile, Aero has begun to install an operational in-flight refuelling system on the L-159B prototype following the conclusion of tests with a mock-up of the system (Flight International, 19-25 November). It is planned to undertake live refuelling trials in mid-2003, with the Czech air force expected to provide a tanker from one of the NATO nations.

Source: Flight International