The UK Defence Procurement Agency (DPA)has issued invitations to negotiate (ITNs) to five companies who have expressed an interest in managing Royal Air Force simulators and synthetic trainers not already managed under the private finance initiative (PFI) scheme.

Under the Fully Integrated Aircrew Synthetic Training Service (FIASTS) proposal more than 20 simulators and 65 other training devices will be rolled into a single 18-year PFI contract worth around £250 million ($360 million).

Alenia Marconi Systems, CAE Electronics, Hunting Contract Services, Serco Defence and Thales Training and Simulation have received an ITN. Responses are due by the end of July with the DPA proposing to select a preferred bidder early next year leading to contract signature by September 2002.

The winning contractor will be responsible for operation of the training devices including maintenance and repair and post design development of the simulators. The contractor will also provide instructors and maintain the facilities.

Simulators for eight types - BAC VC10, British Aerospace Jetstream and Nimrod MR2, Lockheed TriStar, Panavia Tornado F3, Sepecat Jaguar, Shorts Tucano and GKN Westland Sea King HAR3/3A - at 10 sites are included in the FIASTS proposal. Other facilities could be added as new aircraft enter service.

Source: Flight International