British Aerospace (BAe) Flight Training Australia is eyeing potential new military and civil training contracts in Vietnam and China.

According to sales and marketing manager Mark McHugh, the Vietnamese Government has approached the company about basic flight training for a number of military pilots. The company has been training Vietnam Airlines pilots "for a long time", says McHugh.

It has also made a "tentative proposal" to China, where it is likely to be competing with the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, which is just starting to move into the pilot training business.

"The tentative proposal is for civil training, and if that works, then we will be talking in more depth about military ab initio [training]," says McHugh. He adds that BAe has approached the Australian Government to see whether military training of Chinese pilots on Australian soil would be politically acceptable.

The company is continuing to pursue a potential training contract from the Singapore air force, with tenders due at the end of February, and a selection decision possible in June or July.

The company has begun training pilots from all three Australian Defence Force services from January this year. The basic 99h of training on Pacific Aerospace CT-4B Airtrainer aircraft takes place in Tamworth, New South Wales, with the military contingent at this school now called the Australian Defence Force Basic Flying Training School (ADF BFTS).

Six additional CT-4Bs out of an order for ten have now been delivered. It already operates 12 of the aircraft.

McHugh adds that the company is considering expanding into helicopter training. If the plan goes ahead, the purchase of helicopters in the class of the Robinson R 22 would be considered.

Source: Flight International