The down select of the successful candidate to provide an Interim Basic Flight Training (IBFT) solution to the ADF is believed to be imminent.
The tender, being managed by the Air Force Training Group, was called last year to provide an interim flight screening and training capability for a minimum of six years while the ADF’s delayed and more comprehensive Project Air 5428 matures to implementation. The new tender became necessary because the terms of the Free Trade Agreement between Australia and the US required the RAAF to compete the IBFT period rather than simply continuing to extend the current BFT arrangements with BAE Systems Australia beyond the final option date of December 31 2011.
An Invitation to Respond (ITR) was issued last July, and three companies initially responded to the tender which closed on February 11 – BAE Systems Australia; Boeing Defence Australia; and a teaming between Thales Australia and Flight Training Adelaide (FTA) along with Transfield and Hawker Pacific. A decision on the successful tender was due to be made in the May/June timeframe.
BAE Systems has proposed an evolution of its current arrangement at Tamworth based around the established campus there and enhanced CT-4B aircraft, but is open to the RAAF’s reported preference of IBFT and the follow-on permanent solution being located at East Sale in Victoria. Boeing Defence Australia is offering the Grob 120A ostensibly out of the former National Safety Council (NSC) facility at nearby West Sale, while Thales/FTA is also offering the Grob 120A and a basing solution at East Sale.