Ascent Signs MFTS Rear Crew Contract With MOD

London, August 3 - Ascent Flight Training, the joint venture of Lockheed Martin and VT Group, has achieved the latest milestone in the UK Military Flying System (UKMFTS) programme by signing a contract with the Ministry of Defence for Rear Crew Stage 1 training.

The £57 million contract represents the first phase of the agreement, under the UKMFTS banner, for the provision of training Royal Naval Observers to support front line operations.

Ascent Managing Director Fred Ross explained: "The Rear Crew contract is a further major milestone in the UKMFTS programme and will present the opportunity for significant improvements in the training of non-pilot aircrew through the addition of new aircraft, new infrastructure and new training tools."

Valerie Evans, head of the UKMFTS Integrated Project Team, added: "We are delighted to move forward with this latest stage of UKMFTS. We believe the Rear Crew Stage 1 contract will deliver considerable improvements in the training of non-pilot aircrew."

Rear Crew Stage 1 is a five-year contract that will replace the current Basic Observer Course and the ageing Jetstream T2 aircraft with four Hawker-Beechcraft B350ER King Air aircraft. The contract in-turn includes a sub-contract between Ascent and Cobham plc that will see FR Aviation, part of Cobham, integrate a radar and tactical mission training system onto the King Airs and thereafter conduct maintenance and continuing airworthiness services.

Rear Crew Stage 1 puts in place a training system for Royal Naval Observer students that comprises Phase 1 Introductory Flying Training (IFT), a Common Core Ground School (CCGS), Phase 2 Elementary Navigation Training (ENT) and Phase 3 Basic Flying Training (BFT). On successful completion of Phase 3, graduates will be appointed to their Operational Conversion Units prior to employment on frontline Sea King ASaC, Lynx Mk8 and Merlin helicopter squadrons.

IFT, CCGS and ENT will be conducted at RAF Barkston Heath and BFT will be conducted at RNAS Culdrose.

The Rear Crew Stage 1 training solution also includes Ground Based Training Equipment and a Training Management and Information System supplied by Lockheed Martin STS, and Infrastructure and ICT supplied by VT Group. In addition to the King Air, live flying will be carried out on Grob 115Es, which are owned by VT Group.

Rear Crew Stage 1 is part of a two-stage approach that will ultimately be subsumed into Rear Crew Stage 2. This will add other training service enablers to cater for the training of all Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force non-pilot aircrew.

Notes to Editors
Ascent Flight Training is the Ministry of Defence's Training System Partner for the 25 year delivery of the United Kingdom Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS). UKMFTS will replace the present flying training arrangements for the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force and the Army Air Corps. It will cater for the different training needs of all UK military air crew: from the training of fast-jet, rotary wing and multi-engine pilots, to rear crew.

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