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Air Platforms

UK flying training under fire from watchdog

04 September 2019
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An outsourcing project to revamp UK tri-service aircrew training has failed to provide the country’s armed forces with the required numbers of aviators, according to a hard-hitting report by the UK National Audit Office (NAO).

The report found that the RAF had problems generating the required number of Hawk T1 (pictured) and T2 advanced jet training aircraft. (IHS Markit/Patrick Allen)The report found that the RAF had problems generating the required number of Hawk T1 (pictured) and T2 advanced jet training aircraft. (IHS Markit/Patrick Allen)

The Investigation into military flying training report published on 4 September said the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) “does not currently have the aircrew it needs” and “has experienced significant personnel gaps for several years”.

The report looked at the shortfall in aircrew training under the UK Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) administered by the Ascent Flight Training consortium between Lockheed Martin and UK-based services provider Babcock.

The Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) No 22 Group oversees the MFTS project, which also provides aircrew for the Army Air Corps and Fleet Air Arm.

The NAO reported that in 2018–19 only 49 students completed phase 2 of their flying training, which was 86% short of its annual target. Cumulative problems meant that as of April the RAF – the front-line command requiring the most aircrew – was 331 personnel or 18% below its pilot requirement.

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