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

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 fleet composed of CASA C-101 and F-5 trainer aircraft. The news leaves surprised mainly for the times that the development of a new aircraft requires and because the nation needs to introduce a new aircraft 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 development costs would certainly be very high as Spain does not need a large number of aircraft and the market already offers many solutions for military pilot training. The opportunities to sell a large number of aircraft to other countries are very limited. Furthermore, the armed forces that require a new training solution, such as Austria, can not wait for a long time.

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.

The purchase of an aircraft from an aerospace company able to provide a ready-to-use and proven system, such as the Leonardo’s M-346, is certainly a more advantageous choice. 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 another European aerospace company for the supply of aircraft know-how and then produce them on its own 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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