The Israeli Ministry of Defense has decided to procure the Italian M-346 to replace the antiquated Skyhawk training aircraft. IAF pilots examined both aircrafts and submitted reports to indicate which plane met their demands.
Earlier in the week, South Korean representatives complained about the lack of transparency on the deal.
Before the decision was made, the Israeli Ministry of Defense responded by saying, “The Ministry is conducting contacts with the South Korean and Italian industries and governments, with full transparency and while providing both industries with an equal opportunity. Contacts were conducted in the recent months within the framework of the process, which allowed the industries to offer the best exchange deal to the defense establishment, as well as present the aircraft and its capabilities to the IAF in the most detailed manner.
“The data and proposals which were delivered by both governments and industries during the past several months will enable the examination of the overall package in a fair and equal basis, as is done by the Ministry.”
Prior to the selection, Italy and South Korea battled it out to close the deal.
South Korean representatives had met with senior defense establishment officials during the Air exhibition in Singapore, and demanded that the process of selecting the new air force training aircraft be conducted “with full transparency” and publish "a request for proposals” before any decision was made.
Meetings took place during the international air exhibition between top Israeli and South Korean officials, including Minister of Defense Ehud Barak.