Andrzej Jeziorski/TOKYO

Swiss turboprop manufacturer Pilatus is preparing to re-offer its PC-7MkII trainer for the Japan Air Self-Defence Force's re-opened primary trainer contest.

The competition was re-opened recently after a September 1998 decision in favour of the Fuji Heavy Industries T-7 trainer was scrapped because of a corruption scandal at the end of that year. At the time, senior Fuji managers were arrested for bribing a Liberal Democrat lawmaker, who was also charged with misappropriation of party funds. Fuji says it is "trying again" with the T-7. Bidding formally re-opens at the beginning of May, with proposals due in by the end of June.

Fuji says the Japan Defence Agency (JDA) wants about 50 aircraft to replace its Fuji T-3s, with the JDA allocating funds in the defence budget for this financial year (to the end of next March) for the purchase of three aircraft.

The T-3 is a development of the Beech T-34 Mentor, powered by a 255kW (340hp) Textron Lycoming IGSO-480 piston engine. A prototype T-7, powered by a Rolls-Royce 250 turboprop, has been flying since 1998. Fuji says the avionics suite has yet to be defined.

The PC-7MkII is being proposed by Pilatus' agent in Japan, Marubeni.

Source: Flight International