The NSW state government has committed up to $7.86 million to upgrade facilities at Tamworth Airport if BAE Systems Australia is successful in securing part or all of the ADF’s AIR 5428 pilot training system (PTS) contract.
BAE Systems currently runs the ADF’s basic flying training system (BFTS) through an interim six-year contract which it won in 2011. BFTS uses the PAC CT-4E basic trainer for initial screening and basic flying training, before pilots move on to the higher performance Pilatus PC-9/A trainer at RAAF Pearce.
BAE has bid for the AIR 5428 PTS contract in partnership with CAE Australia and Beechcraft to offer the turboprop T-6C and RAAF East Sale is the preferred basing location. But there are options in the tender which could see Tamworth retained as a training location if a sufficiently compelling argument can be made.
To this end, the NSW government has provided the funding to upgrade BAE’s BFTS facilities at Tamworth. “The Premier and I have publicly made the case for the retention of the Basic Flying Training School in Tamworth and now we have put our money where our mouths are,” Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner said. “The Tamworth community has made it clear they want Defence to stay in Tamworth and we do too, which is why we will provide up to $7.86 million for necessary upgrades at Tamworth Regional Airport if the Tamworth bid for the Basic Flying Training School is successful.”
Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson added; “For the bid to be competitive, it requires that runway upgrade. It’s now in the lap of the gods. We’ve done everything humanly possible to ensure Tamworth is in the best possible position to win the bid.”