AUSTRALIA HAS short-listed three bidders for the air force's lead-in fighter project (Air 5367). The three are Aermacchi, British Aerospace and McDonnell Douglas (MDC).

The short-listed tenderers were announced on 15 December 1995. Proposals for the request for tender (RFT) are due on 14 March. The three aircraft under consideration, to replace the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF) aging Macchi 326H, are the Aermacchi MB 339FD, the BAe Hawk 100 and the MDC T45 Goshawk.

The RFT does not identify the number of aircraft to be acquired, but seeks offers based on specified use on defined tasks at two bases. Between 35 and 45 aircraft are likely to be required.

Aircraft already ruled out include the AMX International AMX-T, the Aero Vodochody L-59F and the Dassault Dornier Alpha Jet.

Attributes sought include a training capability, for both Army ground support and Naval fleet support, although it is probable that, only a limited number would be provided with the latter.

Tenderers' proposals will be based in effect on manufacturers' guarantees of a minimum level of on-line availability for various tasks at specified rates of usage, supported by fatigue and other engineering data.

The RFT also requires manufacturers to provide all overhaul, engineering and maintenance other than operational turnaround maintenance over a 25-year service life.

Aircraft will be fitted with training weapons, including cannon of unspecified calibre and to be capable of being armed with bombs up to the Mk82 series, including laser-guided weapons and high- and low-drag stores.

The carriage of air-to-air missiles is also required, with full functionality desirable. Hands-on stick and throttle controls are specified, along with head-up displays in the front cockpit, with similar equipment in the rear cockpit, and continuous computed release and impact-point capability.

Range and endurance specifications call for an unrefueled still air- ferry range of at least 1,650km (900nm), with 15min reserve fuel.

The service has a firm requirement for the first 12 aircraft to be in service in mid-1999 for instructor training before the type becomes fully operational.

Source: Flight International