Despite not signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the next stage of Mako jet trainer development, EADS and the United Arab Emirates air force did ink deals with more potential risk-sharing partners and UAE educational institutes.

The European aerospace company and the UAE had planned to sign an MoU committing them to the definition and development phase of the advanced trainer/light combat aircraft. The pair signed their first MoU at the Dubai air show in 1999 and a second one in March this year during the IDEX defence show in Abu Dhabi.

EADS vice president, light combat and training aircraft, Max Heyder says the third MoU was not signed because talks have taken "more time than expected". The next stage could be ready for signature by the end of the year.

During the 18-month definition phase the major equipment suppliers will be selected and the design will be frozen. The plan is for this to be completed by mid-2003.

The equipment MoUs signed at the show were with Autoflug for fuel systems; Flight Visions for displays and controls; and Rockwell Collins for displays and controls, and navigation and communications equipment.

EADS and the UAE have now signed 15 MoUs with suppliers competing to provide equipment. These include engine suppliers Eurojet with the EJ200, General Electric with the F404 and more likely F414, and Snecma offering the M88. Heyder says the engine will be the first selection as it is a "design driver".

EADS and the UAE also signed agreements with the UAE University at Al Ain, maintenance company GAMCO and the CERT college of technology. EADS says these deals underline the UAE's determination to develop its economy away from a reliance on oil.

Source: Flight International