Several manufacturers of advanced jet/lead-in fighter trainers attended the MSPO exhibition last week in anticipation of a contest to supply a replacement for the Polish air force's fleet of TS-11 Iskras.

Poland has yet to launch a formal competition to acquire new aircraft, but sources say it continues to favour the establishment of an industry-managed system. "The Ministry of National Defence is looking for an outsourcing-based training system, with aircraft and all associated equipment and synthetic training devices to be owned by a private company," says Piotr Lukaszewicz, director of Poland's Lockheed Martin F-16 acquisition programme.

Lukaszewicz says all training activities will take place at the Polish Air Force Academy in Deblin, in order to establish a new centre capable of instructing pilots from other nations, including NATO members. Warsaw could also pursue a commercial solution to conduct air-to-air refuelling training.

Poland will take delivery of its 48 F-16C/D fighters by December 2008, and industry sources say it is expected to select a new trainer by early 2009. Although this competition is still some time away from launch, Aero Vodochody, BAE Systems and an Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI)/Advanced Technology Group team promoted their respective L-159B, Hawk and Javelin designs at the show.

Aero Vodochody last week unveiled an official proposal to supply new-build L-159Bs or two-seat conversions of surplus Czech air force L-159As to meet Polish requirements. "Deblin is the most suitable place to establish a training centre," says L-159B programme manager Martin Mamula, while also offering access to the company's training facilities in Odolena Voda near Prague.

Source: Flight International