Singapore will select a new training helicopter by mid-September to replace its air force fleet of 10 Eurocopter AS550 Fennecs. Industry sources say a contract must be signed with Singapore Technologies Aerospace or UK-based Flight Helicopter Services in September to ensure deliveries of the Bell 206 or Eurocopter EC120 respectively from June 2006 under a lease agreement.

The selection will conclude the first of three trainer competitions being led by Singapore’s Defence Science & Technology Agency. Bids are also due late this year from companies interested in leasing new primary fixed-wing trainers to the air force, with the Aermacchi M311, Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano, Pilatus PC-21 and Raytheon T-6 shortlisted to replace its current S211s (Flight International, 5-11 July).

Singapore will also issue a request for information by early next year for new advanced trainers to replace its McDonnell Douglas TA-4SU Skyhawks. Aermacchi’s M346, BAE Systems’ Hawk 128 and Korea Aerospace Industries’ T-50 are expected to contest the requirement, although Singapore could instead buy time on advanced trainers owned by foreign air forces.

Source: Flight International