Japan has commissioned an evaluation of potential replacements for its Learjet U-36A special mission aircraft, with an acquisition to start in 2008, say industry sources. The Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force seeks initially to replace one U-36A target-towing aircraft that was lost in a crash in 2003 and another that was damaged in a fire last year, although a further three may also be acquired. The U-36A is based on Bombardier's out-of-production Learjet 36 and sources say the company is preparing to offer the Learjet 60, or possibly the Challenger 300 if a larger aircraft is required.

Source: Flight International