Finland could scupper the struggling Eurotraining advanced European jet pilot training (AEJPT) programme if it bales out and buys its own fleet of new-generation BAE Systems LIFT Hawks.

Rumours at the show suggest Finland is poised to join Denmark, Norway, the UK, Ireland, and Turkey in quitting Eurotraining. In most cases these nations cannot afford to wait until 2010, when Eurotraining is presently scheduled to begin, to receive new jet trainers.

Finland, which like the UK has a fleet of ageing ‘heritage' Hawks, has one of the most urgent requirements for a new advanced training aircraft.

It is believed to favour the latest version of Hawk, which is currently in production.

Finland's trainer requirement is one of the largest among the 12 current Eurotraining member nations, and if both Finland and the RAF were to select the Hawk, they would form an aircraft fleet almost as large as that required by the rump of Eurotraining members. This could prompt further defections, making the programme unworkable.

Other nations may be unable to accept one or other of the main contender aircraft if the ‘wrong' type is selected, with different air arms having different objections to the EADS Mako or Aermacchi M-346, seen as leading contenders for the contract.


Source: Flight Daily News