He­li­copter deal boosts UK’s in­vest­ment in mil­i­tary train­ing to £2.8 bil­lion


In April, Gen­eral Dy­nam­ics Euro­pean Land Sys­tems and Air­bus De­fence and Space suc­cess­fully demon­strated the load of a Pi­ranha 5 8 x 8 ar­moured per­son­nel car­rier (APC) into an Air­bus A400M cargo air­craft dur­ing an eval­u­a­tion ex­er­cise. As part of the drill, the Pi­ranha 5 was driven into the cargo com­part­ment and com­pletely tied­down ac­cord­ing the air­lift pro­ce­dures.

The ob­jec­tive was to val­i­date the board­ing of a Pi­ranha 5 in the cargo com­part­ment with­out any spe­cial prepa­ra­tion as part of a broader A400M eval­u­a­tion process, demon­strat­ing the trans­port ca­pa­bil­ity of com­bat ve­hi­cles.

Acon­tract worth around £1.1 bil­lion has been awarded to UK in­dus­try to sup­ply ro­tary-wing train­ing to the armed forces. It brings the value of Min­istry of De­fence (MOD) con­tracts with As­cent Flight Train­ing, to de­liver the four core el­e­ments of fu­ture mil­i­tary fly­ing train­ing, to £2.8 bil­lion, and the num­ber of UK jobs sus­tained to 500.

The £1.1-bil­lion ro­tary-wing con­tract, awarded by the MOD to As­cent, will pave the way for the de­sign, de­liv­ery and man­age­ment of a new mil­i­tary he­li­copter air­crew train­ing ser­vice un­til the early 2030s.

It will see the de­liv­ery of Air­bus H135 and H145 train­ing air­craft, and in­stall new in­fra­struc­ture and ground-based equip­ment at RAF Shaw­bury in Shrop­shire to train fu­ture air­crew to use air­craft such as Apache, Chi­nook, Mer­lin and Wild­cat. It will

On May 23, dur­ing a flight pi­loted Lt Colonle Alessan­dro O., Com­man­der of the 212th Flight Group, the 61st Wing passed the mile­stone of the first 1,000 hours flown by the T-346 air­craft supplied to the Ital­ian Air Force.

This achieve­ment does not, how­ever, have just a sym­bolic value. All of the unit’s ac­tiv­ity, where flight safety and se­cu­rity are al­ways prime con­sid­er­a­tions, has achieved con­crete re­sults, as dur­ing these ini­tial 1,000 flight hours 8 pi­lots qual­i­fied and in­struc­tors on the T-346.

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