Arie Egozi/TEL AVIV

THE US AIR Force's Northrop T-38 Talon upgrade is to be undertaken by a McDonnell Douglas (MDC)/Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) team.

The US Department of Defense favoured the Israeli company's F-5 Plus package over submissions received from six teams, including a Northrop Grumman/Elta combination.

MDC has won a $45.6 million contract for the first phase of the T-38 avionics programme. Production and support options are valued at over $400 million. The US company will be prime contractor with IAI as its major subcontractor.

The upgrade will be performed by MDC in St Louis and Mesa, Arizona, and will be based on kits supplied by IAI's Lahav division.

The initial contract is for the development of at least two T-38 prototypes equipped with the upgraded avionics packages. These will be flight-tested for an 18-month period, starting at the beginning of 1998. A decision on the upgrade of the remaining 425 aircraft will then be made.

Source: Flight International