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UK MoD signs helicopter training contract with Ascent joint venture

World Aviation Defense & Security Industry News - United Kingdom
UK MoD signs helicopter training contract with Ascent joint venture
The UK Ministry of Defence has signed a new contract with Ascent for the provision of helicopter flight training services to the Armed Forces. The GBP1.1 billion contract will include the design, delivery and management of new military helicopter aircrew training service until early 2030s.
UK MoD signs GBP1.1 bilThe new contract will sustain 500 UK jobs and optimise helicopter crew training until the early 2030s
Ascent is a joint venture formed by Lockheed Martin and Babcock International. The company had previously signed a series of contracts with the UK MoD, including a Training Service Partner agreement in 2008 (GBP240 mil.); a Fixed Wing element in February 2016 (GBP1.1 bil.); a Rear Crew Stage 1 in 2009 (GBP69 mil.) and a Fast Jet in May 2008 (GBP241 mil.).

The latest contract includes the delivery of Airbus Helicopters H135 and H145 training aircraft and installation of new infrastructure and ground-based equipment at RAF Shawbury to train future crew in the operation of Boeing Apache and Chinook, and AgustaWestland Merlin and Wildcat helicopters.

Together with the contract signed in February 2016, the total value of the contracts signed between the MoD and Ascent this year, will amount to GBP2.8 billion. The first one includes training services for fixed-wing, fast jet and rear crew, to prepare RAF staff in the operation of Airbus Atlas, Voyager and Typhoon, and Lockheed Martin F-35.

Minister of State for Defence Procurement Philip Dunne said: “This is the final element in re-fashioning the UK Military Flying Training System into a state-of-the-art structure to develop suitably qualified aircrew to secure the future of air elements of our Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force. Our Armed Forces will benefit from consistent, world-class training across the board. It will ready them for the next stage of their careers and equip them with the skills they need to deploy on operations around the globe.

A GBP2.8 billion Defence investment with Ascent in the four core elements of this training system has, and will, bring new aircraft and new facilities to the UK, as well as sustaining around 500 jobs across the country. Supported by our rising Defence budget, which went up for the first time in six years in March 2016, these contracts will ensure that the UK continues to be a world leader in military flying training.

Air Marshal Sean Reynolds, the Senior Responsible Owner for UKMFTS, added: “This is a significant milestone for the UKMFTS programme and the future training of our Military’s aircrew. The modern aircraft, ground based training equipment and infrastructure procured to sustain the training out to 2033, along with a new training system design will optimise the students time in training and skill sets attained.

This will in turn ensure that they can be available to conduct operations in defence of the UK and her international interests earlier than ever before and in doing so will provide an overall saving to Defence.

Under the new contract, aircrew across the three Services will continue to conduct their basic and advanced rotary training at RAF Shawbury and Army Air Corps Middle Wallop. Aircrew selected for training in mountain and maritime helicopter operations will receive instruction at RAF Valley.

Defence Equipment and Support Chief Executive Officer Tony Douglas said: “This contract will provide world-leading facilities for aircrew training in the use of our advanced aircraft such as Apache, Chinook, Merlin and Wildcat.

The success of the UKMFTS Programme demonstrates how the MOD, through DE&S, can create a positive and innovative partnership with industry to deliver real, tangible results, both commercially and for our Armed Forces.

Managing Director of Ascent Paul Livingston said: “The award of the Rotary and Fixed Wing contracts marks the delivery of two critical milestones for the UKMFTS programme. Modern training aircraft selected specifically to meet the bespoke needs of the UK’s Armed Forces will deliver optimised training alongside high tech simulators and classroom trainers.