Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) is using Paris for the international debut of an upgraded Aero Vodochody L39 Albatros advanced trainer.

The upgrade has been developed by IAI's Lahav division, which specialises in fast jet upgrades, overhauls and the manufacture of components for Boeing and Lockheed Martin as part of their industrial offset commitments to Israel.

The L39 upgrade builds on Lahav's work upgrading US Air Force Northrop T-38 Talon advanced trainers and Spanish air force Northrop F-5B lead-in fighter trainers, says the division. The company also has experience with Soviet-era fast jets. Lahav says trainer upgrades have been identified as a key market, adding that the number of L39s in service, estimated at 2,000, make it an attractive proposition to offer a modification package. Lahav, with Ukrainian company AVIRS, upgraded a single Ukrainian air force L39 last year, presenting it at a local show in September 2002.

Lahav built a demonstrator for the Spanish F-5 package. To reduce the demonstrator's cost, however, the aircraft has only one multifunction display retaining traditional basic flight instruments that would be replaced by an electronic display in a full upgrade. The demonstrator has also been fitted with a head-up display (HUD).

Meanwhile, Lahav has entered bidding for a virtual radar system for Royal Australian Air Force BAE Systems Hawks. Lahav is also eyeing Aermacchi to offer upgrades for its trainers.

Source: Flight Daily News