EADS Military Aircraft is awaiting the results of a study by the Eurotrainer advanced European jet pilot training (AEJPT) programme early next year before considering how it progresses with its Mako advanced trainer.
The 12-nation Eurotraining programme is looking at which type of aircraft to purchase – subsonic, transonic or supersonic – in the post-2010 timescale, with the Mako one of the contenders.
Sander Hos, EADS' marketing manager, military aircraft, believes that the trainer market has seen relatively few major developments over the past 30 years. This means, says Hos, that newly-graduated pilots heading for aircraft such as the Lockheed Martin F-16 find themselves spending training time on expensive front-line aircraft.
"So, our philosophy is to bring in a trainer that's supersonic so you don't have to repeat the training on a fighter."
Although the supersonic Mako might be a more expensive option than a new, subsonic trainer, says Hos, the experience a new pilot would gain on it would cut down drastically the time required to get to grips with operational types, giving lower overall costs.
If Mako is the favoured option for Eurotraining, new partners will have to be brought in to help build the aircraft. The UAE has expressed strong interest in the aircraft but has made it clear that it is not prepared to be the sole investor in the project. If chosen by Eurotraining, the aircraft would be ready for first flight four to five years later.
Source: Flight Daily News