Poland To Get Bids for New Jet Trainer

Poland has launched its long-awaited tender for a new advanced jet
pilot training system, outlining an ambitious set of performance
characteristics 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 jet
trainer/lead-in fighter trainer aircraft. The contest will also cover
the provision of ground-based training equipment including a full
mission 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 the
Polish air force academy in Deblin by December 2013, with all aircraft
and equipment to follow within a further two-year period.

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

But spreading far beyond the AJT remit, the defence ministry’s
specification list means that none of the three contenders in place to
submit 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 an
aircraft capable of carrying at least 2,000kg (4,410lb) of air-to-air
and air-to-ground missiles and laser- and GPS-guided bombs. It should
also have an internal 20mm cannon, plus provisions for a targeting pod
and self-protection equipment.

The defence ministry has also specified a design with fly-by-wire
flight controls and supersonic performance, plus an in-flight
refuelling probe, Link 16 datalink and preferably an active
electronically scanned array radar.

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

Representatives from the competing manufacturers say they hope “some
technical requirements will be adjusted”, but add: “There is plenty of
room for negotiation”.

This message is supported by Marcin Idzik, undersecretary of state in
the Polish defence ministry. “The requirements are so broad, to include
a maximum number of bidders,” he says.