Israel has selected the Beechcraft T-6A Texan II as the favoured replacement for its ageing air force fleet of CM-170 Zukit (Fouga Magister) trainers, with the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency having notified Congress of a possible 25-aircraft sale worth $190 million.

Deliveries are sought from early 2009, with a formal request for proposals expected very soon.

The air force's selection of the T-6A follows a long-running evaluation process, and comes as the service has launched the first steps to shift training activities from the Zukit due to its growing maintenence costs.

The service last month began to conduct some flight academy "combat check" sorties using its Grob G120AI basic trainers, although the Zukit will also support this task - during which cadets perform aerobatic manoeuvres to determine whether they will be streamed on to combat aircraft - over the coming year to ensure that the switch does not affect the quality of its sorting process.

In addition to providing students with access to a modern aircraft using advanced avionics equipment, Israel's introduction of the T-6A will also cut its fuel consumption by 66%, according to the DSCA.

The formerly Raytheon T-6A is already in service with the Greek air force, the Bombardier-run NATO Flying Training in Canada system and provides the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System for the US Air Force and US Navy.

Source: Flight International