Industry sources have revealed that BAE Systems Australia has won the Interim Basic Flying Training (IBFT) requirement to provide flight screening and basic training services to the RAAF for between six and 10 years.
While BAE has made no comment on the tender, sources claim both Boeing and the Thales led team had been informed their bids were unsuccessful. The tender, being managed by the Air Force Training Group, was issued to provide an interim flight screening and training capability while the ADF’s delayed and more comprehensive Project Air 5428 matured to implementation. An Invitation to Respond (ITR) was issued in July 2009, and three companies 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 had been expected in May.
While the RAAF has previously expressed a preference for the bulk of its training operations to be based at or near East Sale in Victoria as part of a consolidation of its training resources, this was not specified as a requirement in the tender. Boeing had offered the Grob 120A ostensibly out of the former National Safety Council of Australia (NSCA) facility at nearby West Sale, while Thales/FTA also offered the Grob 120A and a new basing solution at East Sale.
As the incumbent with established facilities already in place, it is thought BAE’s Tamworth, NSW campus will be the base for IBFT and that the current CT-4 aircraft will be upgraded with additional crashworthiness protection.