Poland’s Ministry of Defence has cancelled a major tender that sought a supplier of aircraft ear-marked for pilot-training programmes.

The tender, which was announced in September 2010, concerned 16 airplanes, together with flight simulators and fully-equipped classrooms for trainee pilots.

The specified LIFT aircraft (Lead-In Fighter Trainer) are solely designed for training purposes. Five companies came forward with proposals, including Korea Aerospace Industries and British-based BAE Systems.

Tomasz Siemoniak, Poland’s Minister of Defence, has not stated as of yet why he has cancelled the tender. However, he has revealed that a new tender will be drawn up.

Sources close to the ministry have informed Polish Radio that new aircraft are no longer considered essential for training purposes and that flight simulation machines are currently the top priority.

It has been a trying year for the Polish Air Force, which has been under scrutiny in the wake of the Smolensk Air Disaster of April 2010, an accident which killed 96 people.

Poland’s official report, which was published in late July this year, placed considerable blame on the Air Force, postulating that the pilots of the Smolenk plane were ill-prepared for the flight.

Minister Siemoniak’s predecessor, Bogdan Klich, resigned as a consequence of the report’s findings.