Formal contract arrangements have been signed between the federal government and Lockheed Martin Australia to provide and support the Australian Defence Force’s new pilot training system, after the company was named as the preferred tenderer the AIR 5428 project in September.
Under the acquisition and services contracts, which are worth $1.2 billion, Lockheed Martin will deliver 49 Pilatus PC-21 trainers, seven flight simulators, a modern learning environment for students and updated courseware, along with support for an initial seven-year term.
Basic flying training will be delivered at RAAF Base East Sale in Victoria. The first courses will begin in early 2019 with an annual intake of up to 165 trainee pilots, and will allow the ADF to increase the number of graduates from 77 to 105 each year.
“For the first time in Australia, pilot training will include simulators in undergraduate training; this will become the new benchmark for training and preparing military pilots for fourth and fifth-generation platforms,” Minister for Defence Senator Marise Payne said in a statement.
“Defence looks forward to a long-term partnership with Lockheed Martin Australia as together we embark on this exciting new phase of pilot training for the ADF.”
As prime contractor, Lockheed Martin will provide overall project management for the pilot training system and will deliver the ground-based training systems. Partners Pilatus Aircraft will provide the PC-21 aircraft and through-life engineering and airworthiness support, and Hawker Pacific will provide maintenance and fleet support services.
“Our approach will be tailored to the particular needs of Australia’s future defence requirements and will leverage proven turn-key training capabilities from Lockheed Martin, as well as those of our partners – Pilatus Aircraft and Hawker Pacific,“ Raydon Gates, chief executive, Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand, said in a statement.
The Lockheed Martin-led Team 21 was selected ahead of a competing bid from BAE Systems, which together with CAE Australia and Beechcraft had offered a solution based around the Beech T-6C aircraft.