The UK Ministry of Defence is to delay from July until November the selection of an industry partner for its future Military Flying Training System (MFTS), but sources close to the 25-year deal say the programme is on track to deliver services from next April.

To manage the instruction of around 1,500 students a year across 20 aircrew disciplines, MFTS will be run under a partnering agreement between the MoD and a training system partner (TSP) to be selected from the Ascent (Lockheed Martin/VT); Sterling (Thales); or Vector (Bombardier/EG&G/KBR/Lear Siegler) consortia. The teams are now conducting advanced risk-reduction activities ahead of the expected November selection, with this work originally to have been conducted following a preferred bidder announcement.

“We are supportive of the reason for the slip,” says Ascent bid director Paul Livingston, adding: “The MoD is determined to make this work in the set timescale.”

One immediate priority will be for the TSP to build new infrastructure and select a simulator supplier to support operations of the Royal Air Force’s future BAE Systems Hawk 128 advanced jet trainers at RAF Valley, Wales. The MoD says it is in “the latter stages of the approvals process” before signing an expected 26-aircraft production order for the new trainer (Flight International, 28 February–6 March).

The UK Defence Procurement Agency, meanwhile, is poised to announce a new integrated project team leader for the MFTS project, with Air Cdre Les Burrell moving to a new appointment after two years in the post.

“This is normal business and will have no impact on the programme,” it says.

Source: Flight International