Defence has finally signed a $86.6 million, six year Interim Basic Flying Training (IBFT) contract with BAE Systems to continue to provide basic pilot training at Tamworth from January next year.
“Under the contract, BAE Systems will continue to provide basic flying training at Tamworth using the CT-4B Airtrainer aircraft, upgraded to meet contemporary crashworthiness requirements,” the Defence Department said in a May 3 statement.
“Commencing in January 2012, the six year contract includes annual extension options for Defence, for up to a further six years.”
The contract will see BAE provide flight screening for about 275 pilot candidates and basic flight training for approximately 150 student pilots each year.
BAE Systems was understood to have been selected for the IBFT program mid last year, but contract signature was delayed while BAE verified planned crashworthiness improvements to the CT-4B airframe. BAE subsequently announced it had successfully tested modifications to the CT-4 airframe to allow it to meet contemporary crashworthiness certification standards at the Avalon Airshow in March.
As the incumbent provider of aircraft and training services to the Tamworth based Basic Flying Training School (BFTS), BAE was well placed to bid for the IBFT contract, necessary until a long term pilot training system could be acquired under the delayed Air 5428 program.