Poland is looking for at least 16 Lead-in Fighter Trainer (LIFT) aircraft to replace its aged fleet of over 100 PZL Mielec TS-11 Iskra trainer jets. The Iskras were initially going to be retired by 2009, but the tender’s submission date moved all the way back to October 2010, and the new trainer jets aren’t expected until at least 2013.
The big question is which trainer jets they will be. Right now, Polish pilots mostly train in the USA on supersonic T-38 Talons and USAF F-16s, but that contract expires in 2015. There are a number of competitors, and the Polish RFP v1.0 placed a justifiable but surprising focus on combat capability. That affected the competition – and eventually, appears to have killed it. The competition has been revived, albeit with sloppy management, and has accepted 3 bids.