A TS-11 Iskra is seen at the Kraków Air Show in 2007. (Marek Slusarczyk/Tupungato)
WARSAW — Poland’s Ministry of Defense has invited Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and Alenia Aermacchi to bid in an upcoming Polish Air Force advanced jet trainer (AJT) aircraft competition.
“We are planning to sign the contract for the procurement of ... the AJT in the first quarter of next year,” Lt. Col. Jacek Sonta, the ministry’s spokesperson, told the Army’s official publication Polska Zbrojna.
Under the plan, the Polish ministry will place an order for eight jet trainers and related infrastructure and equipment with an option for an additional four aircraft. The new jet trainers are intended to replace Poland’s TS-11 Iskra aircraft built by Sikorsky’s local subsidiary PZL Mielec.
In 2011, the ministry canceled its first tender for the aircraft after BAE Systems withdrew its Hawk advanced jet trainer from the contest. Four bidders were left competing for the Polish contract: Alenia Aermacchi, Korea Aerospace Industries and Lockheed Martin, Czech Republic’s Aero Vodochody, and Finland’s Patria.
The competition was re-launched by the ministry in 2012. The original procurement for 16 lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT) aircraft was estimated to be worth about 1.45 billion zloty (US $475 million).