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PICTURE: T-6C arrival completes UK trainer fleet renewal

A key milestone in the UK Military Flying Training System (MFTS) programme was met on 3 December, with the early arrival of the last of 38 fixed-wing aircraft acquired via Elbit Systems UK/KBR joint venture Affinity Flying Training Services.

The last of 10 Beechcraft T-6Cs acquired as replacements for the Royal Air Force's Short Tucano T1 turboprops – registered ZM332 – arrived at the service's Valley base in Anglesey, north Wales, following a delivery flight from Wichita, Kansas.

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Iain Mackenzie

In addition to providing the Texan II trainers, Affinity has sourced 23 G120TPs from Grob Aircraft and five Embraer Phenom 100s – all "configured to meet the needs of the UK Ministry of Defence". The new types are respectively employed in the basic, elementary and multi-engine crew training categories.

Deliveries commenced with a first batch of G120TPs being accepted at RAF Barkston Heath in Lincolnshire in November 2016. Affinity notes that the final aircraft's transfer was made ahead of its original schedule.

"Completion of the aircraft delivery phase marks an important milestone," says Affinity managing director Iain Chalmers. "We are now looking forward to working with our partners in the MFTS programme to contribute to a world-class flying training system."

Managed for the UK MoD by Babcock/Lockheed Martin joint venture Ascent Flight Training, the tri-service MFTS framework also includes a Valley-based fleet of 27 BAE Systems Hawk T2 advanced jet trainers, plus a combined 32 Airbus Helicopters UK-provided H135 Juno and H145 Jupiter rotorcraft.

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