The UAE defence ministry has confirmed finalising a contract with China’s CATIC to supply its air force with a dozen Hongdu L-15 jet trainers for aerobatic display team use.
On the opening day of the Dubai air show, the UAE’s Tawazun detailed a roughly $440 million deal “to procure an air show aircraft and its accessories”. The order is understood to have been signed off earlier this year.
The UAE air force’s Al Fursan display team currently flies Leonardo-suppled MB-339 jet trainers. Its interest in the twin-engined L-15 emerged following the 2021 Dubai air show, with a potential need to also acquire light attack-configured examples.
CATIC is exhibiting the L-15 at the show this year, with the type having flown on the event’s opening day and also present in the static display.