The Bombardier-run NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) scheme appears set to secure a new customer within the next few weeks, as the company and the Canadian Forces strive to maximise utilisation rates on the system.
“We hope to sign a European nation in the near future and a couple of others to do some [programme] elements,” says Stu McIntosh, NFTC programme director for Bombardier Military Aviation Training.
NFTC officials decline to name the prospective customers, the first of which is expected to sign during November.
New users are being sought to enable the NFTC system to achieve its full potential using an active fleet of 18 BAE Systems Hawk 115s and 24 Raytheon T-6A Harvards.
Canada, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Singapore and the UK all send students to NFTC for Phase II and III instruction at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and Phase IV training at Cold Lake, Alberta. The last student from the United Arab Emirates graduated at Cold Lake last month.
Bombardier aims to make maximum use of its Hawk 115 fleet
Full and partial courses are on offer, says McIntosh. “We still have capability available on the international side. The block approach means nations can just show up and do one bit.”
Flight International also understands that the Greek air force is to send two instructors to NFTC to assess the system. Germany, Sweden and the USA also currently have instructors, but no students, at the school.
NFTC’s Hawk and Harvard fleets have respectively amassed over 45,500 and 84,600 flight hours in six years of operation, says Bombardier, with current daily utilisation rates of around 46 and 80 sorties per fleet. NFTC’s flight-training devices for the aircraft have also logged over 57,000h, it says.
The NFTC system has reduced pressure on Canada’s Boeing F/A-18 Hornet Operational Training Unit, according to McIntosh, who says: “We are still looking back to see where we can make more savings.”
Flight International defence editor Craig Hoyle visited Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan, home to the Bombardier-run NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) school and the Canadian forces' Snowbirds aerobatic display team. Read his blog on flying with the Hawks.