Japan asks for trainer rebids

Andrzej Jeziorski/SINGAPORE

The Japanese Central Procurement Office is to reopen the tender for a new primary trainer for the Japan Air Self-Defence Force to replace the ageing Fuji T-3.

As Flight International went to press, the tender was due to open on 30 August, with a closing date of 25 September. This will be the first JASDF aircraft to be chosen by open competition, according to Japanese industry observers.

The competitors are the Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) T-7 and the Pilatus PC-7 Mk 2, being proposed by Pilatus' Japanese agent, Marubeni. The competition was re-opened after the initial selection of the T-7 was dropped following a corruption scandal in 1998 (Flight International, 25 April-1 May).

The scandal led to the arrest of senior FHI managers for bribing a Liberal Democrat lawmaker.

The Japan Defence Agency (JDA)is believed to need about 50 aircraft to replace the T-3, although it is understood that funding for only three aircraft has been set aside in this financial year's budget, up to the end of March 2001.

The T-7, the military designation of FHI's KM-2D, has an all-metal airframe and is powered by an Rolls-Royce 250-BF turboprop. The T-3 is designated KM-2B by FHI. It was developed from the Beech T-34 Mentor, and is powered by a 254kW Textron Lycoming IGSO-480 piston engine.

n The JDA plans to include funding for an aerial refuelling tanker procurement in its fiscal year 2001 budget request. Plans to introduce an air-to-air refuelling capability by 2005 remain controversial, perceived by some as a departure from Japan's policy of maintaining only self-defence forces.

Source: Flight International