International Turbine Engine (ITEC), an AlliedSignal subsidiary, is in talks with Yakovlev and Aermacchi over the possible use of its F124 turbofan in the companies' jointly developed Yak/ AEM-130 advanced-trainer/ light-combat aircraft.

"We have got engineers at Phoenix looking at the installation, and we will have a co-ordination meeting within the next month," says ITEC new-business development manager Marc Schiff. The talks result from a series of initial meetings at the Paris air show in June, says Schiff, who adds: "-nothing is signed, we are just investigating the feasibility of the project and seeing if the engine fits. How do we mount it and how do we integrate the FADEC [full-authority digital engine-control]?"

The re-engineing study is seen as part of efforts by Yakovlev and Aermacchi to boost the export potential of the Yak/AEM-130, which is being considered for some forthcoming international competitions. ITEC, which failed in two recent attempts to oust the Rolls-Royce Adour from the British Aerospace Hawk, is equally keen to see another application of its engine, which was developed in its original F125 form for the Taiwanese Ching-Kuo Indigenous Defence Fighter. The last of 325 F125s (afterburning versions of the F124) is due to be shipped in mid-1998 as ITEC begins building up deliveries of F124 engines to Aero Vodochody for installation in the Czech-built L-159.

The Yak-130 is now powered by twin 22kN (4,850lb)-thrust ZMKB Progress DV-2s (modified by Klimov and designated RD-35Ms), and would be powered by two F124s de-rated to 25kN if the plan is approved. "We don't need quite as much power with the twin arrangement," says Schiff.

The aircraft has recently been transferred from Yakovlev to Aermacchi at Venegono Superiore in Italy, for further flight tests. The partners are building aircraft for testing by the joint venture and the Russian air force. Another trainer is being built as a demonstrator for the international sales effort.

South Africa's defence minister Joe Modise visited Venegono Superiore recently and inspected the Yak/AEM-130. The South African air force operates Aermacchi MB-326s, which are due to be replaced early in the next century.

First engine ground runs of the L-159 were expected to take place around 26 July, with the first flight due a few days later, pending a successful 10h engine check and suitable weather. ITEC expects to deliver ten engines to Aero in 1998 before production rises to around three to four a month.

Source: Flight International