The Chilean government expects its new-generation trainer requirement to reach contract within the next three years, with the selected aircraft to enter service in 2009-10.

AT 63 Pampa W445
© Peter La Franchi

LMAA's AT-63 Pampa is one of the contenders to equip Chile's air force 

Santiago has begun a market survey with both turboprop and jet options being considered, with the new aircraft primarily intended to support training of new pilots for the Chilean air force’s new Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block 50 fighters. The service currently flies the Enaer T-35 Pillan as its primary trainer. A formal request for proposals for the new requirement is not expected until late 2007.

Contenders confirming interest at FIDAE included Aermacchi, offering the M311 and M346; Aero Vodochody with the L-159B; Embraer with its EMB-314 Super Tucano; Lockheed Martin Aircraft Argentina (LMAA) with the AT-63 Pampa; Korea Aerospace Industries offering the K-1 and T-50; Pilatus with the PC-21; and Raytheon offering its T-6.

Giuseppe Maresca, senior vice-president marketing and commercial affairs with Aermacchi parent company Finmeccanica, says the company is looking at offering Santiago-based Enaer co-production options on the selected trainer type or work packages on the Boeing 787 airliner via Alenia Aeronautica as part of its bid. “This might also be a way of involving the local industry in working on parts of the commercial aircraft. We are doing it with some other companies around the world and that might be a tool also for the local [Chilean] industry to grow a little bit,” Maresca says.

LMAA president Alberto Buthet says sharing of Pampa production with Enaer is being considered as part of his company’s bid. Buthet also reveals that LMAA has teamed with Elbit Systems and Lockheed Martin Simulation and Training for the Israeli air force’s private finance initiative-based advanced trainer requirement.

Aero Vodochody says its L-159B bid is likely to benefit from Chile looking to diversify its supplier base.

“We think the potential is here,” says commercial director Jakub Hoda. FIDAE 2006 was the company’s first foray into the South American marketplace and signals a more intensive engagement with the region, he says.

Source: Flight International