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UK outlines NGOT vision for future air operational training

A little over 18 months after axing the Air Support to Defence Operational Training (ASDOT) programme, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Royal Air Force (RAF) have revealed details of their ambition to transform air operational training infrastructure to better meet the demands of the RAF's fast jet force.

Announcing its plans in a market information pack issued on 30 November, the MoD said that its Next Generation Operational Training (NGOT) construct is intended to create a joint “operational training ecosystem” containing complementary capabilities within two initially separate pillars of live and synthetic activity. The ultimate aim is to converge both within a cohesive live, synthetic, and blended operational training capability post 2030.

Front line commands receive operational training and assurance support in the air environment, through a mix of synthetic and live capabilities. Live ‘aggressor' and electronic warfare (EW) capabilities are provided by substantive contracts running through to 2024–25, with support from the RAF EW training and test facility at RAF Spadeadam in Cumbria.

ASDOT was conceived as a contractor-owned/contractor-operated ‘Red Air' service to provide live training up to 2035. However, the programme was halted in March 2019 owing to the lack of compliant bids.

According to the MoD, the UK's current air operational training infrastructure and associated enablers are “in need of review to meet the capability demands of all aircraft types, particularly [the Lockheed Martin F-35B] Lightning and [Eurofighter] Typhoon, while replicating an increasingly potent threat”. NGOT, it added, “will deliver new solutions to fill identified capability gaps, build an operational training ecosystem fit for the next-generation air force using innovative technologies and agile delivery methods to ensure cost-effective, cutting-edge capabilities”.

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