Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) is using the Paris show to make the international debut of an upgraded version of the Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatros advanced trainer.
The upgrade has been developed by IAI's Lahav division and builds on Lahav's work upgrading USAF Northrop T-38 Talon advanced trainers and Spanish air force Northrop F-5B lead-in fighter trainers, says the division. The company also has experience with Soviet-era fast jets - the Czech-designed L-39 was the Eastern Bloc's standard advanced trainer - andis providing a package for the MiG-21 fighter.
Lahav says it has identified the trainer upgrade as a key market, adding that the number of L-39s inservice make it an attractive proposition to offer a modification package. Flight International's Military Aircraft Census 2003 suggests there are around 2,000 L-39s remaining in-service. Lahav, with Ukrainian company AVIRS, upgraded a single Ukrainian air force L-39 last year, presenting it at a local show in September 2002.
"We took the Spanish F-5 package and built a demonstrator", says a Lahav spokesman. To reduce the demonstrator's cost, however, the aircraft has only one multifunction display retaining traditional basic flight instruments that would be replaced by an electronic display in a full upgrade. The demonstrator has also been fitted with a head-up display.
Meanwhile, Lahav has proposed a virtual radar system for Royal Australian Air Force BAE Systems Hawks, with the UK-built advanced trainer being a contender for a Lahav programme. "We will look at the Hawk for sure," says the company, adding that it would also like to work with Aermacchi to offer upgrades for its jet trainers.
Source: Flight Daily News