Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Australia evaluating new training plan for military pilots

The federal government is looking up to seven years ahead for the way it wants pilots trained to operate next-generation defence aircraft. During the next decade, nearly all existing aircraft and helicopters will be replaced. The replacement program will include new fixed-wing combat aircraft to be flown by RAAF pilots and new naval aviation and trooplift helicopters to be flown by navy and army pilots, Defence Minister John Faulkner says.

Presently, defence aircrew training comprises a mixture of initial training provided by private contractors and more advanced training provided within the services. The Defence Capability Plan 2009, released in July, allows for replacement of the existing ADF pilot training regime with a more efficient and modern system.

That will be procured using a performance-based contract for construction and delivery of pilot training. "The new pilot training system will prepare airforce pilots for operational conversion and army and navy pilots for transfer to advanced helicopter training," Senator Faulkner said in a statement. The government would make a final decision about the training system model between 2012 and 2015. It will enter service in the 2015 to 2017 timeframe, Senator Faulkner said. "Importantly, Australian industry will have the opportunity to support the delivery of this new capability."

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