Air arms around the globe are focusing their attention on pilot training for the new generation of combat aircraft, and this is reflected at Le Bourget, where several of the leading contenders are on display.

Making their first air show appearances are Aermacchi's M311 and M346, and HAL's Intermediate Jet Trainer, while more familiar trainers present include Raytheon's T-6A Texan II and the Russian MiG-AT and Yak-130.

By contrast, the Korean Aerospace T-50 Golden Eagle and the Aviation Technology Group Javelin are present only in mock-up form.

Notable absentees include the EADS Mako, once heavily favoured to meet the Eurotraining requirement, but now understood to be 'dead in the water' following launch customer UAE's interest in the T-50.

BAE Systems' Hawk is also absent, the company's two Hawk 100s heavily committed to the development prog-rammes of the RAF's Hawk 128 and India's Hawk 132.
As well as airframes, competing training concepts are being marketed at the show. Training is increasingly being offered as an end-to-end service covering flying hours or an output of trained aircrew, with contractors providing aircraft, instructors, maintenance personnel and infrastructure. Britain's Royal Air Force is evaluating proposals for just such a training system, funded under a private finance initiative (PFI).

Interestingly, however, the Advanced Jet Training element of the proposed system was separated, and has been fulfilled via a straightforward purchase of BAE Hawk 128 aircraft.

Obvious economies of scale can be achieved when countries pool their training, and the NATO Flying Training Centre (NFTC) in Canada and the proposed Eurotraining system are the most obvious examples of this approach.

In NFTC's case, the Hawk-equipped flying training school was primarily established to meet Canadian Armed Forces requirements, selling on surplus capacity to other NATO nations, while Eurotraining is intended to be multinational from the ground up.

But decisions are not always made entirely on economics, and national pride often plays a part. Even some small nations view pilot training as a core role, which they are unwilling to delegate to a supra-national organisation, and who therefore want to purchase and operate their own training fleet.


Source: Flight Daily News