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RAF seeks zero-emissions trainer aircraft

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) is seeking a zero-emissions trainer aircraft as part of a wider national drive to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The RAF is seeking a new zero-emissions light trainer aircraft to take over many of the roles currently undertaken by the Grob Tutor T1 in the 2027 timeframe. (Crown Copyright)

The RAF is seeking a new zero-emissions light trainer aircraft to take over many of the roles currently undertaken by the Grob Tutor T1 in the 2027 timeframe. (Crown Copyright)

Announced by the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) organisation on 7 July, the Zero Emissions Air System requirement aims to field a light trainer aircraft towards the latter half of the decade.

“This market exploration is being run on behalf of the RAF, and seeks information on the development of relevant technologies and systems that are in development and maturing over the coming four years,” DASA said, adding that an entry-into-service date of 2027 is anticipated.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) currently utilises the Grob Tutor T1 elementary trainer aircraft for pre-service, entry flying training, grading, and assessment roles across a range of organisations that include RAF university air squadrons, air experience flights, and flying grading and streaming for the RAF, Army Air Corps, and Fleet Air Arm.

In potentially replacing this platform with what would be the UK's first military-certified zero-emissions aircraft, DASA said that all three services require the ability to develop qualified flying instructors in key skills that include unusual attitude and spin recovery training; the ability to operate under Instrument Meteorological Conditions (such as flight in cloud or without reference to an external horizon); and operating under air traffic control in closely managed airspace (this includes the need to fly instrument approaches if required).

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