SPAIN LOOKS AT HOMEMADE TRAINER AIRCRAFT, IS IT THE RIGHT WAY?

Spanish looks homemade trainer aircraft
Spanish looks at homemade trainer aircraft.

According to Scramble Facebook page, the Spanish MoD is evaluating to buy an homemade aircraft to replace the aging CASA C-101 and F-5 trainer aircraft. The news is surprising because the development of a new aircraft takes a long time and the nation needs to introduce a new jet soon (not later than 2025).

Airbus, the main Spanish aerospace company, currently has no military training aircraft in its portfolio and should start a new project. The lead time is not the only problem considering that the development process of a new platform is very expensive and Spain does not need a large number of aircraft. Furthermore, market opportunities are limited because the armed forces that are looking for new jet trainers can not wait for a long time and there are many proven solutions available.

The past cases are not in favor of the Iberian company. The last Spanish-made trainer jet, the CASA C-101 Aviojet, suffered few interest abroad: only 45 aircraft were sold outside Spain (35 to Chile, 16 to Jordan and only 4 to Honduras). These are few numbers compared to those of competitors at the time: Aermacchi sold over 230 MB-339 jets and BAE Systems over 400 Hawks.

Surely the best and cheapest way is to buy an aircraft from an aerospace company able to provide a ready-to-use and well-tested system, such as the Leonardo’s M-346. In fact, Spain has already shown an interest in the Italian aircraft and on the occasion of the San Javier Air Show 2018, the Italian Air Force showed its T-346A in the air and on the ground (More details here).

Alternatively, Airbus could establish a partnership with an aerospace company to obtain the project know-how and then produce the aircraft on its plants. This way would guarantee an economic sustenance to the company and to the nation.

The C-101 and F-5 trainer aircraft entered the Ejercito del Aire fleet in the 1980s.

Written by Matteo Sanzani


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