Lockheed Martin Australia has been selected as the preferred tenderer under Project AIR 5428 for the new Australian Defence Force Pilot Training System.
The contract will see the Australian Defence Force’s Basic Flying Training delivered from RAAF Base East Sale in Victoria.
This decision means that after 2019 the ADF’s Bacic Flying Training School – BFTS – will no longer see ADF pilots train in Tamworth, NSW, which has played an important and historic role in the training of RAAF pilots dating back to WWII.
Defence Minister Kevin Andrews said the new Pilot Training System would deliver 49 Pilatus PC-21 aircraft, with RAAF Base East Sale allocated 22 of the new aircraft.
“From 2019, RAAF Base East Sale will have an annual intake of up to 165 trainee pilots and will allow Defence to increase in the number of graduates from 77 to 105 pilots each year,” Mr Andrews said.
“The training system will also support approximately 162 jobs as part of the ongoing training of students at RAAF Base East Sale.
“The new training system will streamline future pilot training, co-locating multiple training facilities to support both officer training and basic flying training.
“This training system will ensure undergraduate pilots develop the necessary knowledge and skills prior to progressing onto advanced military aircraft such as the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter or MRH-90 helicopter.”
Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Leo Davies said that the new training system was about much more than just acquiring a new aircraft.
“The new pilot training system will enable us to use the latest in simulator technology that can be adapted to student needs and different learning styles to allow students to progress through training faster,” Air Marshal Davies said.
“This will create efficiencies for pilot training and allow more flexibility for our student pilots.”
Minister Andrews said Defence had conducted a thorough and comprehensive tender evaluation.
“Lockheed Martin Australia’s tender, locating the Basic Flying System at RAAF Base Sale, provides a training system that will meet Defence’s needs and represents the best value-for-money outcome over 25 years.
“BAE Systems Australia, the current basic-flying training contractor in Tamworth, will continue to provide the Australian Defence Force with high-quality basic pilot training until the end of 2019.
“BAE’s Tamworth facility is also used by other defence customers, including the Republic of Singapore Air Force, the Royal Brunei Air Force and the Papua New Guinea Defence Force.
“Defence will work closely with BAE over the next four years to actively promote the unique flight training opportunities offered at Tamworth.”