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Israel Chooses Italian Jet for New Trainer

by: Matthew Potter
February 17, 2012

Category: Business Line, Companies, Contract Awards, Countries, development program, Events, Finemeccanica, FMS, Israel, Italy, Lockheed Martin, Military Aviation, Services, South Korea, training | RSS 2.0

Update – The Israeli Government stated that one of the main reasons they chose the M346 over South Korea’s T-50 Golden Eagle was that it provided better compatibility with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that Israel is buying. The T-50 was supposedly not in line with “international standards”. This gives hope to Alenia Aermacchi that other countries buying the F-35 might consider the M346.

The hard fought battle between Italy and South Korea over the new Israeli trainer came to a close yesterday with Israel choosing the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 advanced jet training aircraft. The contract could have a value of a $1 billion in the end. South Korea had offered their T-50 Golden Eagle indigenous developed jet.

Both countries had been going back and forth with Israel trying to develop offset deals that would be the most attractive to the Middle Eastern state. In the end Italy’s was more valuable to Israel although now they face South Korean anger and the potential for some lost businesses.

It has been reported that beyond the offset issue the Israeli evaluators had favored the Finmeccania product over the Korean aircraft.

Offsets have always been a struggle with defense contracting with some countries demanding a great deal like Canada and this Israeli deal while others have had to cut back as India has done to attract more bids from large Western countries. In the case of Israel and Italy, and even South Korea, there should be no shortages of systems that the countries would like to buy.

Israel makes radars, tankers, UAV’s, missile systems as well as ground combat vehicles and other weapons that all could be considered by Italy. South Korea was hoping to buy tankers and other aircraft from Israel but now these deals may not happen or even be considered.

Photo from Ronnie McDonald’s flickr photostream

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