New Zealand Air Force pilots are likely to receive fast-jet training in Australia as the New Zealand Government plans to fill a ten-year gap in the air force left by scrapped Aermacchis.

Tactical Air Services (TAS) wanted to buy 17 Aermacchi jet trainers and Skyhawks decommissioned in December 2001.

New Zealand Defence Minister Wayne Mapp said the 17 Aermacchi jets could not be returned to service.

Air Force Pilots required to fly Hercules and Orion aircraft could only train in much smaller Beech and CT-4E Airtrainer planes, reports National.

“We could do [an aircraft] lease deal, we could do a [training] deal with Australia, which obviously has some attractions, and we’re looking at those options right now,” Mapp said

Kiwi pilots are planned to be sent to Australia as the RAAF fleet includes F18 and F111 jets.