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KAI steps up T-50 pitch to Israel

As the final selection of an advanced jet trainer for the Israeli air force approaches, the contenders are stepping up their efforts to secure the deal.

Korea Aerospace Industries, which is offering its T-50, has declared that the purchase of Israeli-made avionic systems could double in the coming years.

Sang Choi, director of KAI's Middle East marketing division, said that until now his company has so far purchased Israeli systems - mainly avionics - with a total value of $400 million. "We can double that in the next years," he said on 5 May.

KAI T-50
 © KAI

One example of near-term business will include a KAI plan to equip its Night Intruder 300 unmanned air system with Israeli-made payloads, he revealed.

A final selection in the Israeli contest is expected in early 2012, with the T-50 facing competition from the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 to replace Israel's Douglas A-4 Skyhawk trainers.

The winning aircraft will be purchased by a joint venture formed by Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries, with the service to buy flight hours from the industry team.

Choi also confirmed that KAI is ready to establish a final assembly line for the T-50 in Israel. Alenia Aermacchi has already agreed to allow IAI to build an assembly line for the M-346, and for Elbit to integrate new equipment with the design.

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