March 05, 2013
LONDON — Airbus Military and Thales U.K. are forming a new company to provide training services for the U.K. Royal Air Force’s fleet of A400M transport aircraft.
A400M Training Services Ltd. has been awarded an 18-year, £226 million ($340 million) contract for training services that will include the design, construction and management of an A400M training school, the installation and maintenance of full-flight simulators and other synthetic training aids, as well as support for the RAF’s own course design and training staff.
The new facility will house two full-flight simulators to train RAF pilots, a specialist workstation to train loadmasters, a cockpit simulator to train engineers and a suite of computer-based training equipment.
The training school will be built at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, with the work planned to be completed by spring 2014.
An additional £80 million is being spent on defensive aids supplied by Northrop Grumman. The aircraft will make use of the Large Aircraft Infra-Red Countermeasures system, which is also used on the RAF’s Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules and Boeing C-17 Globemaster fleets.
The U.K. is buying 22 A400Ms, which will be known as Atlas in RAF service. The type will replace the C-130J, which will be phased out of service around 2020. The first A400M will be delivered to the RAF in late 2014.