The first four Royal Air Force student pilots to fly the service's BAE Systems Hawk T2 advanced jet trainer under the UK Military Flying Training System (MFTS) programme graduated at RAF Valley in north Wales on 12 June.
Lasting roughly 11 months, the lead advanced fast jet trainer course comprised around 120 live flying hours and a similar number delivered using synthetic training devices, the RAF says. The students' instruction culminated with a sortie simulating the delivery of a precision-guided bomb in a scenario involving surface-to-air missile threats and enemy fighters, it adds.
The increased use of synthetic training via MFTS, "has unlocked the potential to improve efficiency and lower costs," says Jim Keeler, managing director of Lockheed Martin/Babcock joint venture Ascent Flight Training - the Ministry of Defence's training system partner for the project.
A second course, with four RAF and two Royal Navy student pilots, is due to conclude in August 2013.
The RAF has received a total of 28 Hawk T2s.
Source: Flight International