BAE Systems confirms partners for MFTS bid

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BAE Systems' bid to become fixed-wing aircraft service provider for the UK's Military Flying Training System (MFTS) has taken a step forward, with the signing of exclusive memoranda of understanding with three organisations.

The agreements will see BAE lead a team also consisting of Babcock Aerospace, Gama Group and Pilatus Aircraft.

Under MFTS, the UK Ministry of Defence and Ascent - a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Babcock - are seeking flying training capabilities for the British Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy for the next 25 years.

The advanced jet training part of the syllabus has already been addressed with the acquisition of BAE's Hawk 128, known as the Hawk T2 in RAF service. Still to be chosen are aircraft to fill the elementary, basic and multi-engine aircrew training categories.

Under the new agreements, Pilatus will offer its PC-21 for the basic trainer role, which will be linked to a through-life availability service in conjunction with Babcock.

The latter already has experience in this field, operating the current elementary flying training (EFT) fleet, as well as the air experience and University Air Squadron organisations, which seek to attract potential future pilots from among school and university student age groups.

Babcock will deliver "an EFT-capable platform and synergies for a through-life maintenance servicing solution", says BAE. Gama will handle similar responsibilities for the multi-engine section of the proposal.

Babcock will also provide design, build and maintenance support for the necessary infrastructure programme.

BAE and its partners aim to submit their proposal to Ascent in January 2011.