Flight International online news 12:30: The NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) scheme is expected to attract several new customers to the multinational programme next year, according to prime contractor Bombardier Military Aviation Training.

Hawk and Harvard

The company is in discussion with several air forces over the possibility of them sending pilots to Cold Lake, Alberta and Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan for instruction using the Canadian system, including undisclosed European operators. "We are having very good dialogue with a number of countries, and believe we will bring new countries on within the next year," says Bombardier senior vice-president Richard Bradeen. The potential new users are understood to include states involved in the proposed 12-nation Advanced European Jet Pilot Training, or Eurotraining, mechanism.

Hungary is the most recent nation to have committed to the NFTC scheme, with its pilots now training in Canada ahead of operating Saab’s Gripen C/D multirole fighter from March 2006. Other current users of the training system’s facilities are Canada, Denmark, Italy, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and the UK.

Bombardier says its management of the NFTC system provides it with "practical and ongoing experience" to support its 20% holding in the Vector Flying Training Services consortium now contesting the UK’s Military Flying Training System (MFTS) contract. The team, which also includes KBR and Lear Siegler Services, is among three bidders seeking to become training system partner for the £10 billion ($17.7 billion) requirement. A selection of the Lockheed Martin/VT Group Ascent, Thales-led Sterling or Vector proposals will be made from mid-2006, with UK training services to start from April 2007 (Flight International, 30 August–5 September).

The company’s long-term strategy is to expand pilot-training ser­vices to other new markets. It confirms it is bidding to provide primary flight instruction services to Singapore (Flight International, 11-17 October). "By 2015 we will be involved in more than NFTC and MFTS," says Bombardier Military Aviation Training vice-president Jacques Comtois.

Meanwhile, NFTC is eyeing upgrades to its 20 BAE Systems Hawk 115 and 26 Raytheon T-6A Harvard II trainers to keep the aircraft in step with user requirements, says Comtois. This could include the addition of a radar emulation capability to the Hawk.


Source: Flight International