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Sweden launches future military pilot training contest

Sweden has initiated a process to replace its air force’s fleet of Saab 105 (SK 60) jet trainers with a new Military Flying Training System (MFTS), planned for introduction by the end of this decade.

In a request for information (RFI) published by the nation’s Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) on 29 April, Stockholm asks for responses from potential suppliers of a basic and advanced training capability to remain in use until at least 2040.

“The Swedish air force wishes to secure a long-term training design in which development risk is contained to an acceptable low level, and capability is cost-effectively weighted against procurement and support costs,” the FMV says. “Logistic support can be fully outsourced if showed to be cost effective,” it adds.

The FMV describes the air force’s current Saab 105s as “equipped with basic instrumentation, basic systems and flight characteristics, which results in a need to use the operational conversion unit to train information and systems management skills, reducing training effectiveness and not allowing optimal downloading.”

An operational fleet of around 50 of the aircraft log approximately 5,500h per year, the service says.

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The proposed MFTS model is intended to deliver up to 8,000 flying hours per year for student pilots in as many sorties, plus 3,000h of instruction using full mission simulators. However, the FMV is also asking respondents to consider potential future increases of between 10% and 30% as part of their calculations.

The air force and FMV will be responsible for providing military instructor pilots under the MFTS arrangement, while industry could be tasked with sourcing personnel for ground-based training and maintenance.

In its outline, the FMV says it “does not favour a two-aircraft solution before a one-aircraft solution”.

Basic trainer characteristics should include the ability to operate above 20,000ft, and to maintain 230kt (425km/h) in level flight at 15,000ft. Performance required for the advanced flying training and fighter lead-in training phases are for Mach 0.65 at an operational ceiling of over 25,000ft, and a speed of 300kt at 1,000ft.

“The advanced trainer should have, in both seats, tactical displays inspired by and representative of fourth/fifth-generation fighter aircraft,” it adds, along with embedded training capability including simulated radar and weapons use.

Responses to the RFI are due to be submitted no later than 1 July, with details to include suggested aircraft numbers, along with acquisition and life-cycle cost estimates for the entire system.

A contract award for the deal could be placed in late 2016 or early 2017, with initial operating capability anticipated in 2018 or 2019 for instructor pilots. Full operational capability should follow in early 2020, the FMV says.

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