Poland To Get Bids for New Jet Trainer

Poland has launched its long-awaited tender for a new advanced jetpilot training system, outlining an ambitious set of performancecharacteristics for its replacement for the PZL Mielec TS-11 Iskra.

As detailed by the nation's defence procurement agency on 2 September,the integrated training system requirement seeks 16 advanced jettrainer/lead-in fighter trainer aircraft. The contest will also coverthe provision of ground-based training equipment including a fullmission simulator, plus a package of logistics support.

The successful bidder must deliver training for an initial 12 pilots,including six instructors, and at least 50 ground personnel.
The first two trainers and related systems should be delivered to thePolish air force academy in Deblin by December 2013, with all aircraftand equipment to follow within a further two-year period.

Warsaw has allocated 1.45 billion zlotys ($440 million) for theacquisition, and expects to announce a winner in the first quarter ofnext year.

But spreading far beyond the AJT remit, the defence ministry'sspecification list means that none of the three contenders in place tosubmit first bid responses by 4 October can meet all the requirements.Alenia Aermacchi is offering the M-346, BAE Systems the Hawk T2/128,and Korea Aerospace Industries/Lockheed Martin the T-50/FA-50.

For its secondary light combat requirement, the air force is seeking anaircraft capable of carrying at least 2,000kg (4,410lb) of air-to-airand air-to-ground missiles and laser- and GPS-guided bombs. It shouldalso have an internal 20mm cannon, plus provisions for a targeting podand self-protection equipment.

The defence ministry has also specified a design with fly-by-wireflight controls and supersonic performance, plus an in-flightrefuelling probe, Link 16 datalink and preferably an activeelectronically scanned array radar.

The winning airframe should also have a service life of 8,000 flighthours at 250h a year, enabling the type to remain in use for more than30 years.

Representatives from the competing manufacturers say they hope "sometechnical requirements will be adjusted", but add: "There is plenty ofroom for negotiation".

This message is supported by Marcin Idzik, undersecretary of state inthe Polish defence ministry. "The requirements are so broad, to includea maximum number of bidders," he says.

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