BAE Systems is working on a plan to offer Poland private finance initiative (PFI) training capabilities which could result in the creation of a Central European training centre. The UK company would like to use experience gained with PFI-based training operations in Australia and Canada at the Polish Air Force Academy at Deblin.

With 40 pilots to be trained annually, the company expects about 10 aircraft to be necessary to support operations, which could be performed throughout the year, reducing some of the current costs associated with storing the aircraft and paying personnel when the academy is not operational.

BAE believes the Central European training centre could offer Poland and a number of new NATO members training at a much reduced price compared with centres in Canada or the USA.

BAE says the proposal will be presented officially to the Polish air force next year, after the country closes its frontline fighter bid. The proposal will include initial training for cadets on simulators and turboprop trainers.

Poland uses PZL-130 Orliks, which could continue to be operated, although other solutions, such as the Mielec PZL M26 Iskierka, are cheaper.

The deal could create further industrial collaboration between the UK and Poland, which already sees Poland manufacturing parts for BAE Hawks. The simulators used at the training centre could also be manufactured in Poland.

Deblin could see some competition as a training centre from Kosice, however, where the Slovak Aviation Academy - the only military flying school in the former Czechoslovakia - is about to be closed. The issue is complicated by the fact that the Czech Republic is considering a plan for joint air defence with Slovakia, which could result in cadets being sent to Kosice (Flight International, 23-29 July).

Source: Flight International