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G120TP buy completes ETPS fleet renewal

Qinetiq has ordered Grob Aircraft's G120TP to deliver basic training services for the Empire Test Pilots' School (ETPS). The company announced a two-aircraft commitment for the type at the DSEI exhibition in London on 12 September, valuing the deal at £6 million ($6.6 million).

“The Grob provides a safe and comfortable environment, ideal for new pilots learning the basics alongside their instructor," says Paul Shakespeare, Qinetiq’s head of ETPS. "Its low hourly operating cost reduces expense as a barrier to practical learning, enabling students to get out of the classroom and spend more time in the air.”

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Qinetiq notes that the G120TP's aerobatic handling performance – of +6/-4g – also will "allow more experienced pilots to carry out advanced manoeuvres". The new assets will replace an aged pair of Shorts Tucanos used by the company.

The German-built type recently began supporting ab initio pilot training for the UK armed forces, under the nation's Military Flying Training System programme. Elbit Systems UK/KBR joint venture company Affinity Flying Training Services is providing an eventually 23-strong fleet of the Rolls-Royce M250-powered trainer.

Qinetiq's G120TP commitment follows its previous orders for two Pilatus PC-21s and four Airbus Helicopters H125s. The acquisitions form part of an £85 million package of equipment investment in ETPS, which it will continue to manage through at least 2028 for the UK Ministry of Defence.