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.

L-15 Dubai 2023

Source: BillyPix

The UAE will acquire 12 Chinese-built L-15s for aerobatic display team use

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.