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IAI, Elbit could join forces for Israeli trainer deal

As the selection of a new advanced jet trainer for the Israeli air force approaches, Israel Aerospace Industries and Elbit Systems are in advanced negotiations on a proposed joint venture. This would acquire the selected aircraft and sell flight hours on the type to the service.

Israel's air force has evaluated types including the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 and Korea Aerospace Industries/Lockheed Martin T-50 as potential replacements for the aged Douglas A-4 Skyhawks still operated at its flight academy.

The evaluation process has been going on for some time, but sources say that at this stage the Italian and South Korean trainer designs are attracting the greatest attention.

IAI and Elbit are also talking with Alenia Aermacchi and KAI to try and form a basis for a future joint venture. Sources say that this could include assembly of the selected trainer in Israel, along with the installation of locally made avionics equipment.

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