CAE is to produce airborne tactical mission trainers to support the instruction of UK Royal Navy observers using four modified Beechcraft King Air 350ERs, following a contract award from Cobham Aviation Services.

To be introduced through the Rear Crew Stage 1 element of the UK Military Flying Training System programme, the King Airs will replace the RN's remaining British Aerospace Jetstream T2s from 2011. Cobham began conversion work on the new fleet at Bournemouth airport in Dorset late in 2009 under a deal worth around £57 million ($91.7 million).

Capable of simulating inputs such as electronic support measures, tactical display and datalink equipment, CAE's airborne tactical mission trainer will be adapted from a ground-based system developed for Lockheed Martin, the Canadian company says.

King Air 350ER RN - Ascent
 © Royal Navy

Each King Air will have a Telephonics 1700 search radar, two student consoles and two instructor operator stations. After completing their training, RN observers will progress on to types such as the service's AgustaWestland Merlin HM1 multi-mission helicopter and future AW159 Lynx Wildcat.

The RN's active fleet of Jetstream trainers has been reduced to eight Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca Astazou-powered airframes, says Flightglobal's MiliCAS database.

Meanwhile, the UK's Disposal Services Authority (DSA) was due to receive solicitations of interest by 1 November linked to its proposed sale of four surplus Jetstream T3 trainers.

Formerly operated by the RN, the Garrett TPE331-engined aircraft have been kept in storage since their removal from use, and "are considered unserviceable", according to a DSA notice.

"Any bids must be supported by an outline plan that addresses the removal and storage of the aircraft and, if the intention is to recover the aircraft to flying standard, demonstrate the capability to comply with applicable air worthiness standards," it says.

Source: Flight International