Operators of Canada's innovative flight training progamme for NATO pilots are expected to announce today that their first international customer is Denmark.
At a press briefing scheduled for this morning at Farnborough, the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) will reveal that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between Denmark and Canada.
The C$250 million ($150 million) deal means that the Royal Danish Air Force will be able to send six student pilots each year for the next 20 years to the Canadian centre for a 17-month, 250h flight training course. They will then return to Denmark for conversion to their operational fighter aircraft.
The deal is highly significant for the NFTC, which has developed a unique approach to outsourcing military jet pilot training. The joint Canadian government-industry programme was launched at the end of 1994 and is led by Bombardier.
It sells under- and post-graduate pilot training in the unrestricted military air space and tactical range facilities of two western Canadian air bases.
Until the Danish contract, however, the only customer has been the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND), which signed a 20-year C$2.85 billion contract in November 1997.
The Danish contract is particularly timely - the NFTC has hopes of doing similar deals with the Ministries of Defence of the UK and Norway, so it will regard Farnborough as an ideal venue for this announcement.
The NFTC says there is "strong" British interest in the programme and that it is also talking to Singapore. Today's signing demonstrates to our NATO allies and other interested nations that Canada can offer a top quality military pilot programme that is being put in place to meet their training needs, a contribution to NATO that we are very proud of,' says Art Eggleton, Canada's Minister of National Defence.
The companies involved in the venture are British Aerospace, CAE Electronics and Frontec of Canada, and Raytheon Aircraft.
Aircraft used in the scheme are the Raytheon T-6A for basic training and the BAe Hawk 115 for advanced training.
The first NFTC instructors will start training in 1999 in preparation for the first students who will arrive in early 2000.
The chief aim of the programme is to offer governments cost-effective military training through the economies of scale that can be achieved by such a joint international effort. For that reason, the more customers that join up, the better those economies will be for all programme members.
"Bombardier and its members are encouraged by Denmark's participation and look forward to other countries signing on," says Tony Kalhok, president and chief operating officer at Bombardier Services.
Source: Flight Daily News