Timofey Zabaluev Presently the training aircraft market is overloaded. The British BAE systems transnational giant advances the Hawk training aircraft jet modification and American giant Raytheon – T-6 turboprop aircraft. The Lockheed Martin company resumed the production of IA.63 Pampa Argentine training aircraft and work with South Korea on the T-50 project. The Brazilians from Embraer company to settle their own EMB-312 development. Everything is not very simple in Europe. The Italian Aermacchi company transports from one aero show to another M-346 aircraft, Czech Aero Vodochody impetrate somebody to buy its L-159, and here on the way the Dassault/Saab co-brothers from the European Union excite the European Community by the transonic training aircraft, EADS Deutschland company – Mako High-Energy Advanced Trainer (HEAT) supersonic training aircraft, and EADS-CASA company – transonic training aircraft project.

Market situation

In one word the low demand and production overage exist at the training aircraft (TA) market. From the part of the suppliers the oversupply of the TA and light attack aircraft exists, generally because its too simple to design and construct this type of aircraft. As a result new national projects appear, which have small volumes of production, high price of the aircraft, and few export orders.

The same situation is with demand. The TA demand decreased because of the reduction of the Armed Forces all over the world, and also the requirements to the pilots preparation changed. The possession of the information and control aircraft systems now have a priority against the flight experience, and the initial flight experience is gained on the ground.

But the biggest factor, which cardinally reduces the TA demand is the aspiration of many countries to use jointly training fleet.

Together or alone

The creation of individual TA park and training of the flight staff are necessary to perform national security, although under some conditions the studying process can be transmitted outwardly, saving the budget finances for developing and construction of new combat aircraft and other emergency state programs. Singapore, for example, performs the initial pilot training in Australia, and refreshing courses in Canada, according to the NFTC program (NATO Flight Training in Canada).

Our inquiry

The initiator of thee NTFC program was Ministry of Defense, Canada. In the early 1990 it addressed to the interested structures to find the source, which gives the possibility to reduce defense expenses at 25%. In 1994 one of the country’s biggest company Bombardier Aerospace Defence System Division offered the Ministry of Defense its services to create and support flight-training program of NATO pilots on the territory of Canada (NATO Flight Training in Canada reduced by NFTC). This program further was chosen by the Canadian Ministry of Defense as priority. Due to NTFC, the Ministry of Defense didn’t have enough finances to reequip its aged individual TA park at that time, had a possibility to train practically free of charge the flight personnel for the Canadian Ministry of Defense. In October 1997 the Treasury of Canada approved the signing of agreement between Ministry of Finances and Bombardier company to finance this program.

The program, estimated for $3.3 billions, offers the NATO countries and other countries to perform initial study and military pilots refreshing courses on the Canadian territory. The Canadian Ministry of Defense considers NFTC as a fractional approach to study military personnel, based on the partnership of the country with industry. According to the 20 years state contract, the industry headed by the Bombardier company provides the program with air craft, simulators, study materials, airfields, and also it’s occupied with aircraft maintenance and other services. According to the contract, study program of the pilot-fighter is accessible both for the Canadian AF pilots and for the NATO countries pilots, willing to participate in it.

The military bases of the Canadian AF- Moose Jaw and Cold Lake were provided for performing training. The government gave the license to use abovementioned bases of Milit-Air non-commercial organization with single aim to train flight personnel. Milit-Air company was entitled to buy TA, simulators, and other equipment. Bombardier company was appointed the notified agent of the Milit-Air company for talks and for equipment procurement. Besides it, Milit-Air gave the Bombardier company right to use the procured equipment for training. By means of separate contract, Milit-Air company leased the Bombardier’s equipment. Under the agreement with the government, Bombardier company took upon itself the ground preparation of pilots, aircraft, equipment, infrastructure maintenance, and the government took upon itself the obligation to pay for the study process during 20 years not depending from the fact, whether the Canadian pilots groups is not completed. However, the agreement allows Canada to sell the part of its useless places to other countries.

For about $1.3 billions from NTFC budget were spent to buy simulators and new fleet consisting of 48 TA. Practically $1.5 billions are already spent for maintenance of the aircraft and simulators, management of Moose Jaw base and instructors’ training. Nowadays under NTFC program, pilots from Canada, Great Britain, Italy, Singapore, Hungary and Denmark study it.

Great Britain sends pilots to study NTFC program, and also starts the development of MFTS individual project (Military Flying Training System), which is accessible for foreign pilots. Even Israel with its orthodox approach to its security plans to train pilots abroad.

The development of training bases and the application of single AT park in the countries with big zones, opened for flights and with great experience of aviation application (similar to the USA, Canada, Australia) becomes more and more popular. Jordan develops its own military flight school, which is already preparing students at the Middle East for flights on F-5 aircraft, and in future it hopes to pass to F-16 training.

Some European countries, showing interest to the NFTC program, in December 2001 moved their own program — Advanced European Jet Pilot Training (AEJPT), which is going to start in December 2010. The Eurotrainer TA will be used in it. Evidently, AEJPT program with its Eurotrainer can become the competitor for the NFTC and MFTS with their Hawk orientation. In April 2003, 12 European countries: Austria, Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland – started to choose Eurotrainer. The Dassault/Saab single engine subsonic project, M-346 two-engine TA of the Aermacchi company, the Mako High-Energy Advanced Trainer (HEAT) supersonic project of EADS Deutschland company and EADS-CASA single engine transonic project. It’s improbable, that all 12 countries choose the common project, till the moment when AEJPT program becomes the nationwide European program, the European countries will use the old-fashioned existent TA park or will use TA services of the USA and study programs of other countries.
Projects and prospects

To orient better at the market, we shall try to show the state of affairs and prospects of the separate projects advanced by leading firms, training aircraft (TA) manufacturers.

Aero Vodochody

Czech enterprise Aero Vodochody — is the L-39 initial training AT manufacturer, which is one of the most popular AT in the countries of former socialist camp, with the introduction into the NATO it remained without work. NATO already had its excellent «flying desks» and nobody didn’t aspire to place the new player them into the market. Marketing miscalculations of the company also had an effect. Positioned initially as TA turbojet of initial training, L-39 with rather thick direct wing, good for the educational purposes, in its further development (L-59 and L-159) could not be reconstructed up to easy attack aircraft, and it was bought in the limited quantity, only for needs of the Czech Air Forces, Tunis and Egypt Air Forces. New avionics and Honeywell F124 engine, and also equipment of the plane, which are the units of armament suspension, have strongly increased the cost of the project, and the entering into the NATO with its orientation on Hawk, apparently, has even more lowered the demand for Czech AT. The deterioration of prospects also shows the withdrawal from the company structure, one of leading shareholders, Boeing Cheska, happened in October, 2004


Having bought at $77 million price documentation for AT Yak-130 of the Yak design bureau, Aermacchi company has created on its basis the training aircraft, given it a name of M-346. It is necessary to give due, that the firm has not gone on the Chinese variant when the design documentation is blindly copied, but took for a basis external contours of Yak-130 aircraft, practically has completely transformed a design of internal elements of a glider (airframe), and also has cardinally changed the form of nose part. Two Honeywell F124 turbojet engines give to the plane double advantage in the thrust/weight ratio, in comparison with the same parameters of competitors. Excellent aerodynamic characteristics, quadruple digital duplication of control systems enable the plane to carry out flight at corners of attack up to 40°, peculiar only to the newest models of light fighters. Possibility of the M-346 aircraft, used as AT, and also the price of about $17 million strongly decrease the capabilities of the Italian project to take a leading place in AEJPT program, however, its support by the government of Italy allows it to hope, that since 2007 (certification date of the Italian Air Forces) the plane will be used as AT of the Italian Air Forces.

Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin Aircraft Argentina after a long break again started to produce the IA.63 plane, now known as B-63. This TA was equipped with modern avionics of Elbit Company, engines of Honeywell and the possibility to mount armament. In — 63 aircraft is one of the few TA with the reasonable price. Its deliveries to the Argentina Air forces have already begun.

One more program of Lockheed Martin is the joint project with Korean Aerospace Industries, which is the project of T-50 supersonic training aircraft. The project was started under the order of the Air Forces of South Korea with the purpose to develop TA, after training on which the pilot could confidently proceed to piloting modern combat aircraft, such as F-16, F-15, F-22 and F-35 JSF. The basic role in the work is allocated to the Korean side, and Lockheed Martin is responsible for technical expert appraisal of the program, development of avionics and monitoring systems. The Air Forces of South Korea have already ordered 98 planes and their first deliveries in educational divisions will begin in 2005. Export potential, optimistically estimated by the Korean side in 600-1000 machines, is correctly denied by the market employees from Lockheed Martin and they estimated this figure as 150-200 planes. Apparently, outside of South Korea this project will have the limited demand.


In the 1990’s PC-9 light turbo-propeller training aircraft made by Swiss company Pilatus was chosen as the prototype for creation of TA park consisting of 700 machines for USAF an Navy pilots initial training under the program — Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (Jpats). After license execution made by company Raytheon under name T-6A, Texan 2 aircraft became the basic TA of the West and, apparently, it’ll remain the most claimed aircraft in the nearest decades. Till this moment the export orders for it were not so impressing, T-6A victory in NFTC program guarantees to it steady position in the market of AT park common use. T-6 aircraft was put up for a tender to participate in MFTS program, for which the plane of initial training is required.


As to PC-9 TA (prototype of T-6A aircraft), its share in the market was considerably reduced. Now company Pilatus should be content with small sales of PC-9 aircraft and license payments to Raytheon company for producing Т-6 aircraft. PC-9 modernized version under mark PC-21 with pilot cabin made in JSF ergonomics should help the Swiss manufacturer to survive during next several years. Before the putting up for tender for completing MFTS program, the Swiss showed the interest to participate in it with PC-21 aircraft. Certification of this plane is expected in December, 2004.


Victory in T-6 aircraft in Jpats program has made Tucano TA of the Embraer company the second, the most demanded turbo-propeller TA in the world. Making the certain successes in the past, now Tucano TA as though compressed between dominant in market T-6 aircraft and various small-scale projects of other manufacturers. To compete with Raytheon, Embraer company started to produce the lengthened version of EMB-314 Super Tucano aircraft with PT6A-67 turbo-propeller engine of Pratt and Whitney Canada company and with the «glass» control panel made by Elbit company. Embraer has already received the first export order from Dominican Republic. It is the third applicant, after T-9 and PC-21 to participate in MFTS program however the Great Britain can decide to modernize its own park consisting of 80 Tucano (purchased at Short Brothers company in the 80’s). In case of failure, the Embraer will always have Brazilian market, on which «314-th» will be always on demand as «flying desk» for pilot preparation to transit to ALX light fighter.


The Chinese markets at which with desire all manufacturers of training planes glance in hope to attach its pupils, as always is under way. The Chinese are not afraid of borrowings and even more have put in the category of a state policy reception of the western technologies and their adaptation to local conditions using minimal means and for minimal time. Therefore almost all jet AT producing now in the country are collected under licenses or by means of other countries. This, however, has not prevented China to sell in 1999 to Egypt 80 K8 aircraft in K8E modification, having organized there not only co-production, but also the center of their maintenance service.

Now the park of jet training planes of the largest Asia country consists of subsonic planes, K8 and JL8. In the beginning of 2005 the first flight of JQ-5J transonic TA is expected and this aircraft is planned to replace the park of old-fashioned JJ-6 aircraft. But the hottest struggle inflames for supersonic projects. AVIC I offers the project of JL-9 single engine aircraft (earlier named FTC-2000) in which the primogenitor of the MiG-21 is traced, and AVIC II — is the project of L-15 two-engine aircraft, primary goal of which — is the training of pilots for the Chinese park of Su-27 and Su-30MK aircraft. The part of advisory works on outline designing and optimization of L-15 design carries out the design bureau, named after A.S.Jakovlev, and at the initial stage the Ukrainian АИ-222-К25Ф and Slovak DV-2F are considered to be mounted. It’s difficult to say, which plane will be accepted by the Chinese Air Forces as the basic supersonic TA. Most likely, both will be accepted, as at first, these projects are financed from the state budget, and, second, they are intended for pilots training on different types of planes. JL9 aircraft- for perspective modifications of J7/MiG-21 (FC-1 and LFC-16) families, and L-15 aircraft — for Su-27 and Su-30МК (and also their modifications, the producing of which the Chinese experts, most likely, without the help of Russia, will master in the nearest years).

Supersonic Chinese TA will not be widely demanded at the world market and if they are trying to penetrate into it, they will find there the worthy competitor in the person of South Korean Т-50 aircraft.

BAE Systems

After appreciable success in the beginning of 2000 when the agreement on delivery of 24 Hawk 115 TA for a complete set of NFTC program was signed, BAE Systems could not find for a long time customers for the machines. At this period it directed all its efforts to create the programs similar to NFTC, in Australia for the Asian market and in Bahrein for Middle East. A basis of their complete set would become the same Hawk.

For expansion of the nomenclature, the company has offered to the market the Hawk 200 light attack plane at the same time, but it had no great demand because of the high price, subsonic speed and relatively low combat load. A number of unsuccessful projects have complicated the position of the company, however in the middle of 2003 BAE Systems has received from the government of the Great Britain the tender for MFTS program acquisition. The initial order for 20 planes (with option for 24) has allowed it to keep the manufacture, which was on the verge of a stop. The given order and the MFTS start have even more strengthened the British leadership in TA manufacture. The same year, the company had the new success — a prize in the tender on TA delivery for the Air Forces of India (66 planes). The first 24 planes will be assembled in Great Britain, and the others 42 aircraft — under the license, in India on the areas of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). Having purchased the new Hawk, Australia and Southern Africa decided to buy or not to buy. Now Hawk TA is used in 17 countries.

Yakovlev design bureau

Як-130Works on the demostrator development, which is the Yak-130 subsonic maneuverable TA, have begun in Yakovlev design bureau in the beginning of 1990’s. As there was no financing on the part of the state, practically all design documentation was developed using own means of design bureau. Later Aermacchi Italian company has joined the project, cooperation with which, however, was not long and was finished by sale of the design documentation on account of liquidation of Russian financial debts to Italy. After parting with Italians, the plane was modified according to the requirements of the Russian Air Forces: aerodynamics is improved, the wing is amplified (strengthened), the form of the fuselage nose parts is changed, all western avionics was replaced to home-produced, instead of Slovak engines AI-222-25 were offered the engines of the Ivchenko-Progress state enterprise, which batch production accustom is mastered in Zaporozhye on the areas of Open Society Motor Sich and in Moscow on Salute enterprise. Up to the end of 2004 the fourth flight sample will be made in Nizhni Novgorod on an aircraft factory — Sokol, and will be sent to the production tests. The first flights of serial TA, which took place in April, this year, have confirmed the declared settlement characteristics. In 2005 the test flights will begin in the military sphere, and in 2006 — the first deliveries to the Air Forces of Russia. The Russian Air Forces have declared about the order for two hundred TA. Under the general agreement with Sukhoi company, Yak-130 will be offered to the countries, where deliveries of military planes with mark «Su», and basically these are the country of South-East Asia and Africa. Basically, Yak-130 can find the buyer in Europe. The dispersed earlier by many mass media, the application for the arrangement between Aermacchi and Yakovlev design bureau, which concerns the division of the sale market (Aermacchi advances M — 346 in the countries of the NATO, and design bureau — in the countries of the CIS, in other countries, they are competitors) and it was not fastened documentary, and at present the sides are free in a choice of customers.

Now AT park of initial training is provided mainly with Jak-52 planes in military schools. The question on their removal from operation is not solved yet, however obsolescence of TA park, and also the aspiration of the Air Forces to receive cheaper, economic and safe plane, forces manufacturers to improve flight techniques. Project Su-49 of design bureau named after Sukhoi participated in Russian competition, concerning the choice of TA project of initial training with the piston engine along with Yak-152 project. Sukhoi won. However Yak-152 has chances to replace the TA park in other countries. In Ukraine speak about the possibility to replace the planes Yak-52 and L-39 on Yak-152 and Yak-130, and in case of joining to the Yak-152 program, Hundu company, which is included in concern AVIC II, Yak aircraft can become the base for initial training of pilots in Chinese People Republic.

The conclusion

TA market is very specific. At rather small sales volumes — the order is $1-2 billion per one year — it is characterized by a plenty of small-scale national projects with a small export potential. Aspiration of some states to sharing park of training planes is economically expediently. The means saved on development or purchases of TA, countries — participants of programs can direct on financing of other urgent state projects. For training military pilots in a number of the countries in case of their government participation and the private capital participation, study programs are created: in Canada — NFTC, in the Great Britain — MFTS, in Europe — AEJPT, similar projects already work or will start to function in the nearest years in Australia, Jordan and Bahrein. Joint TA parks provide much more efficiency of plane use, than national. Besides, the training process transfer to the hands of private structures with good aviation reputation (at the guaranteed state order for preparation of pilots) not only allows to save public funds, but also involves private investments in the industry and creates new workplaces.

Perhaps, even in Russia, with its rich aviation experience, huge spaces, a plenty of the closed air stations, on the basis of one of leading aviation enterprises, the national program of park sharing will be created, it concerns the best native produced TA, on which the pilots of the countries, which use the Russian military aviation techniques, can be trained.