With two of its new aircraft fleets already complete, the fixed-wing element of the UK Military Flying Training System programme recently achieved two key milestones, according to a key service provider.
The first student pilots to fly the Grob G120TP Prefect commenced training on the type last month at the Royal Air Force's Barkston Heath base in Lincolnshire, Elbit Systems UK/KBR joint venture Affinity says. The company has acquired and supports the German-built elementary trainer for the UK Ministry of Defence, with all 23 examples now received.
Powered by a Rolls-Royce M250 turboprop engine, the G120TP replaces a larger fleet of G115E Tutor T1 trainers.
One week after the Prefect's debut ab initio sortie, Affinity engineers supported the first flight in UK military service of the [Embraer] Phenom 100 from RAF Cranwell, in Lincolnshire. The adapted light business jets will be used to support the tri-service instruction of pilots for multi-engine types including the RAF's Airbus Defence & Space A400M tactical transport and incoming Boeing P-8 maritime patrol aircraft.
The Brazilian-built type – the last of which arrived in the UK in late January – will replace Beechcraft King Air 200s following the completion of instructor training.
"These flights mark significant steps in the progress of UKMFTS," says Affinity managing director Iain Chalmers, who describes the new fleet as "a key enabler of UK airpower".
Affinity has also received four of an eventual 10 Beechcraft T-6C basic trainers, leaving just six examples to be delivered from its overall 38-unit fixed-wing contract, signed in February 2016. Replacing the Shorts Tucano T1, the Texan T1s are based at RAF Valley in Anglesey, Wales.