Wednesday, January 12, 2011

BAE names platform choices for £1bn training bid

BY ADMIN BAE Systems has confirmed its platform offerings for the remaining fixed-wing element of the UK's Military Flying Training System (MFTS) programme, ahead of submitting a more detailed proposal in March.
If selected for the potentially £1 billion ($1.5 billion), 25-year deal, a BAE-led team would provide a glass cockpit upgrade for the Royal Air Force's current Grob G115 Tutors, plus new fleets of Pilatus PC-21 turboprops (below) and Cessna Citation Mustangs, the company says. These would respectively deliver elementary, basic and multi-engine crew training services for the UK armed services.

© AirSpace
"Leading a team comprising Gama Group, Babcock Aerospace and Pilatus Aircraft, BAE Systems is well placed to deliver a low-risk, innovative aircraft availability service," the company claims. It has already built 28 Hawk 128s to deliver the advanced jet trainer (AJT) element of the MFTS programme, with the type to enter operational use late this year.
Pilatus would manufacture the PC-21 with a "Hawk-optimised cockpit to ease the transition of pilots on to the Hawk AJT," BAE says. Meanwhile, the UK company attributes the selection of the Citation Mustang (below) to the type being "widely recognised as the emerging multi-engine training aircraft of choice by many operators around the world".

The BAE-led team faces competition from two other bidders for the fixed-wing deal. Cobham has teamed with CAE and EADS's Cassidian business unit, while Israel's Elbit Systems will also contest the requirement. Details of their respective aircraft proposals have not been disclosed.
A decision on the fixed-wing service will be made in late 2011 or early 2012 by the UK Ministry of Defence's training system partner for MFTS, Lockheed/Babcock joint venture Ascent Flight Training.

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