Italy's air force has started to discuss replacement programmes for its basic trainer and liaison aircraft.

Talks are being held with Aermacchi for up to 40 SF260E basic trainers. These would replace a similar number of older SF260AMs. Contract signature is expected before year-end.

The air force is also starting the procedure to replace its Aermacchi S208M liaison and utility aircraft. The defence ministry is expected to issue an international request for proposals, initially for 10 aircraft. The air force has around 40 S208Ms and at least 30 are to be taken back by the winning contractor.

An initial review places the Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter as leading candidate. Other expected contenders are Aermacchi, Cessna and EADS Socata.

Source: Flight International