TEXAN FLYING TRAINING STARTS AT RAF VALLEY
Iain Chalmers, Managing Director at Affinity commented: “The arrival of students at RAF Valley to fly the Texan marks a major milestone in the UKMFTS fixed wing programme. We are delighted to be a part of such an important project for the UK MOD, and look forward to the graduation of the first students in a few months”.
Article from RAF Valley:
A fast jet training milestone was reached at RAF Valley last week with the start of the first Basic Flying Training (BFT) course operating the new Texan T1 advanced turbo-prop aircraft.
The BFT course is the second phase of RAF and Royal Navy fast jet training under the Military Flying Training System, with the students having passed Elementary Flying Training (EFT) on the Grob Prefect aircraft at RAF Cranwell. The course will allow the students to progress towards the fast jet front line in one of the world’s most advanced fast jet trainers. The Texan T1 – manufactured by Textron in the United States – is a tandem-seat turboprop aircraft, equipped with the latest digital glass cockpit and mission simulation systems. A technological step change from the Tucano that it replaces, the Texan is aligned with the 4th and 5th generation combat aircraft that the trainee pilots will fly in their front-line careers.
The transfer of Basic Flying Training to RAF Valley from RAF Linton-on-Ouse in North Yorkshire was planned around the retirement of the Tucano T1 aircraft, which has served the RAF for 30 years. As well as flying the new aircraft, the students will be immersed in world-leading technology from the outset. The training system uses advanced courseware and mission planning systems, and highly realistic Texan T1 flight simulators that enable sorties to be practiced on the ground before they are flown for real.
The introduction of the Texan to RAF Valley has been a considerable investment under the UK’s Military Flying Training System and its industry partners Ascent, Affinity and Lockheed-Martin. Newly refurbished buildings, hangarage, classrooms and the fleet of 10 Texan aircraft have been established at Valley over the past two years in preparation for the first student course.
The choice of RAF Valley for the new aircraft has meant that two-thirds of fast jet training is now at one location, making the training system more efficient and saving the taxpayer money. It is also good news for RAF Valley and the local economy, with new civilian jobs created in support roles, aircraft maintenance and flight operations.
Wing Commander Chris Ball, Officer Commanding the Texan Integration Squadron at RAF Valley explains:
“Under the Military Flying Training System, our fighter pilots will train on world-leading aircraft. They start on the Prefect, move on to the Texan and finish on the Hawk T2, making the training process more efficient and far more representative of the fighter aircraft they will eventually fly. The Texan is the ideal lead-in trainer to the Hawk T2 advanced jet trainer that they will move on to here at Valley.
We look forward to building up and developing our training system – this is the first course of many – and later in the year adopting the historic title 72 (Fighter) Sqn, which will transfer from RAF Linton-on-Ouse.”
Group Captain Chris Moon, Station Commander RAF Valley and Commandant of No 4 Flying Training School said:
“The basing of the Texans here at RAF Valley reinforces the vital role we play in UK defence, delivering world class flying training for RAF and Royal Navy fast jet pilots. I’ve been hugely impressed by the professionalism and commitment of the team here on the Squadron and support elements across the whole Station; a mix of military personnel and industry partners who have worked extremely hard to get us to this day.”
Brian Braid, from Ascent Flying Training Ltd said:
“The start of the first training course on the RAF’s Texan TMk1 is yet another significant milestone in the transition to UKMFTS. The aircraft is a step change from the Tucano which it replaces and is an excellent lead-in trainer for the Hawk T2. The students on this course are also the first all-MFTS cohort to have completed their training in the new suite of training aircraft. Having completed Elementary Flying Training and their Fast Jet Lead In courses on the Prefect, they will break new ground by being the first course to undergo training on the new Texan before progressing to the Hawk T2. The joint military and Ascent team have worked tirelessly to get to this point and should be justifiably proud of their achievements in getting ready for their first student course.”
A Course Spokesperson said:
“It is a great honour to be the first students to progress through the MFTS flying a fleet of new and capable aircraft that will lead us to the front-line where we will be operating state-of-the art technology. Our wings will be very special to us”.
IMAGES: RAF VALLEY PHOTO SECTION AND RAF PHOTO ACCSU (Crown Copyright images)
Affinity is a Joint Venture between Elbit Systems UK and KBR. Affinity provide the aircraft to support the fixed wing element of UKMFTS programme. These cutting edge aircraft are used as part of Ascent’s world class training solution to train the next generation of UK military pilots.