First UKMFTS fast jet pilots graduate at RAF Valley

The first RAF fast jet students to graduate under the United Kingdom Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) have been formally recognised by Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Dalton, in a ceremony at RAF Valley.

UKMFTS has delivered a revolutionary new approach to military fast jet flying training using bespoke squadron headquarters, classrooms, flight simulators, Hawk T2 aircraft and a combination of civilian and military instructors.

UKMFTS is a Public Private Partnership (PPP), combining the expertise and legacy of Ascent, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Babcock International Group, the Directorate of Flying Training for No 22 (Training) Group and the UKMFTS Project Team from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

“This is another major milestone in the continuing evolution of UKMFTS. Military aviation training has undergone significant change with increased emphasis on synthetic training, which has unlocked the potential to improve efficiency and lower costs,” explained Jim Keeler, managing director of Ascent Flight Training.

The four RAF students to graduate were the first to complete the challenging and rewarding new course that downloads many aspects of training from front line aircraft into the UKMFTS provided syllabus.

This includes the teaching of air to air radar and beyond visual range air combat with simulations of advanced missile systems and radars. The students have also experienced realistic air and ground scenarios, simulating sophisticated surface to air missile threats and smart weapons. This training is completed in both flight simulator and live flying sorties.

The combination of state of the art simulation and flying training ensures that trainee pilots will progress to the front line with a far greater degree of training than ever before.

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Dalton, was the reviewing officer for the graduation, which celebrated the success of the first course with the awarding of prizes and the announcement of front line postings.

Ascent, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Babcock International, is working with its Ministry of Defence partners to improve the different training needs of all UK military air crew.

The system replaces the previous flying training programmes for the RAF, RN and Army Air Corps. UKMFTS is already delivering RN Observer training at RNAS Culdrose using the King Air 350 twin turbo-prop aircraft and sophisticated ground and air synthetic training.

Further ahead, Ascent is responsible for the creation of new training services for basic fast jet pilot training, multi-engine pilot and rear crew training, and the elementary flying training
that supports these services. Acquisition of these training systems is well underway, and they will complement the existing training services from 2018 onwards.

Philip Rood,-

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