Lockheed Martin enters deal for Australian Airforce basic trainer

Posted on 3 Oct 2013 by Tim Brown

Lockheed Martin, Pilatus and Hawker Pacific have formally entered the competition for the Australian Defence Force Air 5428 pilot training system requirement.

F-35 Fighter Jet by Lockheed Martin

The offer will be based on the three companies’ existing training of Singapore Air Force pilots under the Basic Wings programme in Perth, Australia, which uses the Pilatus PC-21 basic trainer aircraft, said a Lockheed spokesman.

The trio of companies will promote their offering as ‘Team 21’. They are the second group of companies to formally enter bidding.

In September, BAE Systems announced that it would enter the competition with CAE and Beechcraft, with an offering based on the Beechcraft T-6C Texan II. BAE Systems general manager aviation solutions John Quaife said BAE Systems, Beechcraft and CAE will offer the ADF a strong and experienced team that can deliver the Commonwealth a low risk, value for money solution and meet the training requirements of the Navy, Army and Air Force.

Since 1992, BAE has operated the Australian Defence Force’s Basic Flight Training School (BFTS) at Tamworth, which provides ab intio training and pilot screening for all ADF pilots using a fleet of Pacific Aerospace CT-4B piston trainers.

This system will also provide candidates for the Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) to be delivered under Project Air 9000 Phase 7.

Boeing, Thales and Raytheon are also expected to announce bids.

Currently, pilots who graduate from the BFTS are then posted to the Royal Australian Air Force’s No 2 Flight Training School at RAAF Pearce in Western Australia for advanced training on the Pilatus PC-9/A, after which they are posted to an operational squadron.

Under Air 5428, the respective training aircraft would be replaced by a new integrated training system run by the successful contractor. Australia would also likely acquire the same aircraft for use with the RAAF’s Aircraft Research and Development Unit and Forward Air Control Development Unit.