The Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) UK Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) announced on 21 January that it had signed a $240 million (£183 million) contract to boost training services for new rotary wing aircrew.
The contract covers the acquisition of:
- Four new Airbus Helicopters H145s.
- An H145 flight simulator.
- Infrastructure improvements at RAF Shawbury.
RAF Shawbury is the base for the Defence Helicopter Flying School (DHFS) that trains aircrew for the Royal Navy (RN), British Army and the Royal Air Force (RAF), with a fleet of 29 Airbus Helicopters H135 Junos and three H145 Jupiters.
It is also the base for the Central Flying School (Helicopter) that delivers the next generation of helicopter instructors. CFS(H) runs five courses a year with some 12 pilots and two rear crewmen on each course.
The Rotary Wing contract amendment was signed by UKMFTS, part of the UK Defence, Equipment & Support (DE&S), and Ascent Flight Training Management, which delivers pilot training for the UKMFTS in a partnering arrangement.
The new H145 Jupiter helicopters and simulator will enable students to learn how to fly a range of missions, covering expected scenarios on operational deployment. In addition, the Jupiters will enable students to practice winching tasks and rear crew activities.
The MoD will also provide support in attracting and training personnel to meet the increased helicopter demand from the frontline.
Defence Minister James Heappey said:
“This £183 million boost for our helicopter training will see our student pilots benefit from an ultra-modern simulator, new infrastructure at RAF Shawbury and four brand-new Airbus H145 helicopters. These crucial upgrades will help our students become the finest helicopter pilots in the world.”
by David Oliver