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​Lockheed preferred bidder for Australia trainer deal

Australia’s Department of Defence (DoD) has selected a Lockheed Martin-led consortium as the preferred bidder for the country's basic military flight training requirement.

The deal will see the delivery of 49 Pilatus PC-21 trainer aircraft, says Australia’s DoD. The Lockheed consortium, dubbed ‘Team 21’, is led by Lockheed Martin and includes Pilatus and Hawker Pacific.

“The AIR 5428 Pilot Training System project will provide the Australian Defence Force with a new training system to take pilots from flight screening through basic and advanced flying training,” says Lockheed in a statement.

“We look forward to working with the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group to finalise and implement this vital Defence program.”

AIR 5428 will replace the Royal Australian Air Force’s fleet of 63 Pilatus PC-9/As.

If Team 21 concludes the contract, it will provide the aircraft along with flight-line support, training facilities, campus accommodation and facilities, courseware, simulators and other synthetic training devices. The Australian Defence Force will provide flying training instructors.

The aircraft will be purchased by the Commonwealth and placed on the military register.

The other bid was from a BAE Systems Australia-led team, and was based around the Beechcraft T-6C and a partnership with CAE Australia.

BAE is the incumbent operator of basic flying training for the ADF, operating a school at Tamworth, New South Wales. That contract will now end in 2019, and the Project 21 team will take move the basic training school to RAAF Base East Sale in Victoria.

“The training system will ensure undergraduate pilots develop the necessary knowledge and skills prior to progressing onto advanced military aircraft such as the [Lockheed Martin] F-35A, Airbus Helicopter Tiger, and MRH-90 helicopter,” adds the DoD.

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