Prime contractor Lockheed Martin has begun work ahead of delivering a 20-year pilot training system to the Republic of Singapore Air Force, after it was chosen to provide the service's Basic Wings Course (Flight International, 7-13 November).

Although the company's Simulation, Training and Support business unit has yet to conduct a training needs analysis (TNA) to deliver Singapore's new basic training system from June 2008, the number of aircraft, simulators and annual flight hours required for the service have already been fixed, says vice-president, flight solutions Lorraine Martin. The deal's newly launched two-year mobilisation phase will include the TNA and the selection of training devices for the programme, she says.

Nineteen Pilatus PC-21 turboprops will be provided under the public-private partnership deal, along with two full-flight simulators and additional ground training equipment. To be located at Pearce airbase in Western Australia, the aircraft will provide 7,000 flight hours a year, with simulator use to total a further 2,000h. The aircraft will replace Singapore's current Aermacchi S-211 jet trainers at the site, and will be operated by the air force's 130 Sqn, with the service providing instructors. Australia's Hawker Pacific will deliver maintenance support for the new fleet.

The Basic Wings Course will provide initial training to student pilots before their potential progression to the Lockheed F-16, Boeing F-15SG or, eventually, Lockheed's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Advanced and lead-in fighter training will still be conducted using BAE Systems Hawk 115s operated by the Bombardier-led NATO Flying Training in Canada system.

The decision by Singapore's Defence Science and Technology Agency comes just weeks before the UK Ministry of Defence is expected to select a training system partner to provide its future Military Flying Training System. The PC-21 could deliver part of the UK programme, which was assessed by the MoD's Investment Approvals Board on 9 November.

Source: Flight International