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Last Week at AVALON 2023 (Australian International Air Show) Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) announced that a tender for new advanced jet trainers will be issued soon as Airforce plans to decide between a new trainer by 2026, with a contract to be signed in 2027 to replace its fleet of Hawk 127 jet trainers by 2032.

RAAF is looking to procure 30-40 LIFT aircraft that will train both pilots and weapons system operators, serving as a bridge between the PC-21 and F-35A, EA-18G and F/A-18F combat aircraft.

In 2021, India’s HAL confirmed that it has offered the Australian Department of Defence its LCA LIFT version which was to be based on the LCA-Tejas Trainer Varaint for which it has received orders for 18 units from the Indian Air Force, but since then it has dropped plans to develop LCA LIFT version and instead unveiled plans to develop Hindustan Lead-in Fighter Trainer (HLFT-42) last month.

Switch from LCA LIFT to HLFT-42 will mean that HAL won’t have working aircraft for demonstration purposes and has been told that no final decision has been made if HLFT-42 could be offered even though the aircraft is still in the advanced stages of development and will require 4-5 years before it can have its first flight.

Boeing with its T-7 seems to have secured pole position with competition coming from Lockheed-KAI with its KAI’s FA-50 and Leonardo with its M-346 which were present at the AVALON 2023 while making a strong pitch for their trainer aircraft.

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