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BAE lands Australian flight training deal

by Staff Writers
Canberra, Australia (UPI) May 6, 2011
BAE Systems won an interim basic flying training contract for the Australian military's flight school in Tamworth, New South Wales.

Under the six-year, performance-based contract, with six one-year extension options, BAE Systems Australia will provide flight screening services for around 275 candidates, as well as basic flight training for 150 students a year.

"The decision to select BAE Systems to deliver this contract underscores the company's record of success over the past 18 years as the provider of this service," BAE's General Manager of Aviation Solutions John Quaife said.

The initial $91.5 million contract also will support 135 military and civilian personnel engaged in training the pilots.

BAE Systems recently worked with Raytheon Australia and Hawker Beechcraft Corp. to provide a complete pilot training system for the defense force under Project AIR 5428.

The 25-year Project AIR 5428 was set out in the Defense Capability Plan 2009 and aims to provide the air force, army and navy with a new fixed-wing pilot training system.

Training will start at the basic level, as set out in the interim contract just won by BAE Systems and include schooling up to "entry into air force lead-in fighter and operational conversion units," the department of defense said.

It will also provide candidates for the helicopter aircrew training system to be delivered under Project AIR 9000 Phase 7.

The interim basic flight training contract award places BAE Systems in a strong position to secure the 25-year Project AIR 5428 opportunity, starting in 2018, BAE said in a written statement.

BAE Systems also announced it successfully completed the system acceptance testing for the Australian army's advanced air defense simulator at the 16th Air Defense Regiment training facility at Woodside, South Australia.

Under the $5 million critical equipment Refresh project, awarded to BAE in 2009, obsolete simulator dome projectors, computers and software have been replaced with the latest equipment and programs to produce panoramic higher-fidelity visuals.

The new display system would provide a more effective simulated controlled tactical environment for training of ground-based air defenders, the 16th Air Defense Regiment commanding officer Lt. Col. John McLean said.

The Woodside facility provides training in the use of ground-to-air missile systems operated by the 16th Air Defense Regiment, formed in 1969 and the youngest regiment of the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery.

The 16th is the country's only ground-based air-defense unit, tasked with protecting a range of military assets during wartime, from army units in the field to ships in port and the air force's air bases.

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