MoD flight training initiative begins in Wales

RAF jet pilots will be the first to benefit from a £635m overhaul of what the Government admits is a ̵6;fragmented̵7; training scheme for aircrews across Britain̵7;s armed forces.

The award of the UK Military Flight Training System contract to Ascent, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and VT Group, is the first step in a 25-year programme that the Ministry of Defence claims will reduce costs and improve training times.

The initiative will address the different needs of the entire flying element of the UK front-line, ranging from fast-jet pilots and weapons systems operators, through helicopter and multi-engine pilots to rear crew personnel.

In its role as training service provider, Ascent will be responsible for supplying and managing ground and flying training at locations across the UK. The contract also covers infrastructure such as hangars, simulators and classrooms.

The first step will deliver fast jet pilot training at RAF Valley in Wales, using the Hawk 128 aircraft. Ascent will supply elements including simulators, desktop trainers and other training devices, as well as mission planning systems and virtual briefing rooms.

Defence minister Baroness Taylor claimed that the contract, which includes PFI elements, will deliver a first-class capability. ̶0;It will significantly improve training for Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Army aircrew by bringing together the current range of fragmented training schemes into one modern and cohesive programme,̶1; she said.

Image: The UKMFTS contract includes desktop flight simulators

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