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IAI continues advanced trainer search for Israeli air force

Israel Aerospace Industries is continuing to pursue a programme to develop an advanced trainer, despite the 2007 collapse of a joint venture with the USA's Aviation Technology Group (ATG) on the Javelin very light jet.

The companies had been developing the product in three versions to meet civil and military requirements, with IAI hoping to sell a Mk 30 variant as a replacement for the Israeli air force's CM-170 Zukit (Fouga Magister) and Douglas A-4 Skyhawk trainers.

The partnership dissolved when ATG halted operations after failing to raise $200 million in development funds, and Israel instead moved to replace its Zukits with 25 Beechcraft T-6A Texan IIs.

But with the Israeli air force planning to keep its A-4 trainers flying until 2016, IAI believes an opportunity still exists to provide a replacement. Company sources confirm that there is a continuing effort to "form the right group" to develop an advanced trainer "with an affordable price tag".

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