The Venezuelan air force has chosen the Aermacchi SF-260 basic trainer to replace its 12 Beechcraft T-34 Mentors. The SF-260Es, powered by Textron Lycoming O-540s, are to be used primarily in the basic training role. The programme involves a first contract, worth around $12 million, for 12 aircraft, plus spares and support. A second contract for a further 12 aircraft is expected to follow. A final six aircraft are held as an option. The Italian trainer has been selected after a competition with the Czech-built Zlin 242 and the UK's Slingsby Firefly. Aermacchi is also interested in the continuing Venezuelan competition for trainer/attack aircraft that could provide an order for up to 24 AMX, produced jointly with Alenia and Embraer.

Source: Flight International