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Mako HEAT (High Energy Advanced Trainer)

The EADS Mako was originally marketed as the AT-2000. Mako, named after a dangerous shark species, would be available as a family of two variants which are derived from the same basic design, airframe and propulsion system: a tandem-seat trainer version with derated engine and limited special-to-type equipment and without weapon delivery capability, and secondly a powerful single seater light combat aircraft with an advanced airborne radar, ECM suite, full-fledged avionics and mission equipment such as FLIR, advanced digital avionics, glass cockpit, and an air refuelling probe. The program was the final result of the AT-2000 project.

Naturally, Mako would - in addition to an internally-mounted 27mm gun - be able to carry a broad variety of stores at the seven external stations, comprising air-to-air (e.g., AIM-9L, IRIS-T or ASRAAM, AMRAAM, FMRAAM, Mica), air-to-ground (ranging from Mk. 82 bombs, AGM-65 Maverick, anti-ship missiles to stand-off missiles of the Taurus class) armament, external fuel tanks, and a reconnaissance pod. The robust airframe with only limited alterations between the two variants was made from metal alloys and composite materials and shows remarkable stealthy features, with a radar cross section well under one square meter.

Developed from preliminary studies that commenced in 1994, the Mako was designed as a light combat/high performance trainer incorporating specific technologies developed within the framework of the Eurofighter program. Management believes that many of the current offerings of other manufacturers in this product sector are nearing the end of their operational lives, with few, if any, economically viable upgrades available. Accordingly, the Mako was positioned to fill the product gap with a technologically advanced airframe with excellent growth potential at a relatively affordable price structure.

Mako HEAT, together with Mako LCA (Light Combat Aircraft) as part of a family concept, can raise the ‘train as you fight’ approach to a hitherto unattained level. In his training on the Mako HEAT, the student pilot was prepared step-by-step for the Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) training. The training aircraft was tailor-made for advanced and fighter-lead-in training. By the time the pilot then undertakes training on a special model when back at his unit, he was basically familiar with a modern combat aircraft. Mako HEAT was also suitable as a “companion trainer”. It offers air forces first-class training conditions and ensures training opportunities even when flying units are relocated.

The flight characteristics are very similar to those of a next-generation combat aircraft. Mako HEAT was a single-engine high-performance aircraft with afterburner. It was agile and maneuverable up to a 45° angle of attack, its specific excess power (SEP) compares well with the new fighter generation. The aircraft was equipped with the latest avionics, a digital flight control system and good handling characteristics. The cockpit was up-to-date with HOTAS functions and a short side-stick. There are three large-format multifunctional displays. Mako likewise incorporates the latest generation of technologies - e.g. helmetmounted displays. “Embedded training” including a virtual radar and the simulation of ‘live’ weapons release was available as an option. Due to the family concept - airframe and propulsion system are identical - and an open avionics architecture, Mako HEAT can be adapted to cope with further mission tasks in the future. Full mission capability was ensured by its high fuel capacity.

With the GE F414M, a modern high-performance engine has been selected for the definition phase. For Mako HEAT the proven and reliable propulsion system has been throttled down to 75 kN. This extends the life cycle and cuts aircraft maintenance costs. A further deciding factor was that due to its high SEP (specific excess power), especially in the transonic range, Mako can handle a wide range of missions that could otherwise only be practiced with operational aircraft in the units. The supersonic capability was not a design criterion in itself, but a by-product of this high SEP.

Mako HEAT was not only extremely efficient - and thus in a position to convey more demanding training content - it was also attractive with regard to the cost/efficiency ratio. When it comes to overall training costs there was a whole string of reasons for this: the highly stress resistant aircraft structure and the throttled back engine that does not run at “full speed” guarantee an extremely long life cycle and low servicing costs. The number of cost-intensive training hours on operational aircraft can be reduced because the training content of earlier training phases can be executed with Mako HEAT. If one imagines the step-by-step training concept as a staircase, flying hours are, in effect, downloaded from the OCU. And finally the concept opens up possibilities for participation of industrial partners - and thus can be seen as a true multinational approach.

The U.A.E. Air Force & Air Defence (U.A.E. AF & AD) and Military Aircraft of the EADS European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company teamed in the Mako program at the Dubai Air Show in 1999. The U.A.E. University at Al Ain, the Gulf Aircraft Maintenance Company (GAMCO), and the Higher College of Technology (CERT) joined forces with the Mako team.

The Mako program, jointly pursued by EADS Military Aircraft and the U.A.E. Air Force and Air Defence gaine momentum at the 44th International Aerosalon at Paris/Le Bourget June 2001, where five major international suppliers signed MoUs with EADS and the U.A.E. to actively support the progress of the Mako family. In December 2002 a teaming agreement has been signed between EADS Military Aircraft, Munich, and GE Aircraft Engines, Evendale/Ohio, for the definition phase of the Mako family of advanced trainer and light combat aircraft. The cooperation between the two companies was targeted to work on the definition of the integration of a derivative of the GE fighter engine F414-GE-400.

Mako was one of the contenders for the future Advanced European Jet Pilot Training (AEJPT). “We are fully convinced that Mako HEAT is the competitive concept to guarantee an efficient and cost-effective future fighter pilot training”, said Aloysius Rauen, CEO of EADS Military Aircraft. “If the findings of the Eurotraining feasibility study will be in favor of the Mako HEAT concept, we wil rapidly enter contract negotiations with customers and potential partners to launch the full-scale development phase.”

Plans for UAE to sign an MoU to mark the start of the definition and development phase of the Mako in 2002 fell by the wayside, and the UAE refused to commit to becoming the launch customer for the Mako. The UAE was looking for a suitable lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT) aircraft to replace the BAe Hawk. For several years EADS’ Mako looked to be the front-runner, but, more recently, it was announced that an order for sixty of the supersonic KAI T-50 Golden Eagle might be forthcoming. But on 25 February 2009, at the IDEX 2009 (International Defence Exhibition and Conference) the United Arab Emirates government announced that it had selected the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master.

The definition phase of the aircraft development program is complete. No decision on production of the aircraft had been taken and there was no confirmation of the first flight, which was scheduled for 2009. This did not happen, and the program could well being assumed as dead.

Crew 2
Number of Engines 1
Ceiling 16,750 meter (54,954 foot)
Max Range 3,700 kilometer (1,998 nautical mile)
Max Speed /td>Mach 1.5
Top Speed at High Altitude 498 mps (969 KIAS)
Max Takeoff Weight 13,000 kilogram (28,660 pound)
Min Weight 8,100 kilogram (17,857 pound)
Payload 4,500 kilogram





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