Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR_Feb2013 Contents 24 Asia Pacific Defence Reporter FEBRUARY 2013
platforms for flight screening and all phases of
undergraduate pilot training from basic flying up to
entry into Air Force Lead-in Fighter and Operational
Conversion Units. The system will also provide Navy
and Army candidates for the Helicopter Aircrew
Training System to be delivered under Project AIR
9000 Phase 7.”
The Year-of-Decision has slipped two years
from FY2012-13 to FY2014-15 now to the period
FY2014-15 to FY2015-16 between the 2011 and
2012 DCPs (Public Version).
Initial Operational Capability (IOC) is to be reached
3 years after the contract decision.
Why has it taken so long?
A Defence spokesperson explained: “Defining
and agreeing on requirements for pilot training is a
complex endeavour, and it is important to make sure
all aspects of the system to be procured will satisfy
the range of end user needs. Government approval of
a number of minor, but important proposed changes
to the first pass scope was required prior to issuing
the draft RFT. Project staff have continued to support
this process and to review and refine the tender
documentation to ensure that it remains fully aligned
with end user needs”.
“Defence Budget reductions have not impacted
on project schedule. Project AIR 5428 is a complex
project seeking to procure, establish and support
new basic and advanced training systems to enable
an increase in pilot graduation numbers, generate
pilot skills consistent with advanced “4th and 5th
generation” fighter aircraft, enable the withdrawal of
current training media, and provide solutions for the
integration of synthetic training systems. The project
continues to work to the project timeline published in
the Defence Capability Plan 2012".
In response to a query from APDR about progress
on the RFT the same Defence spokesperson
answered “A draft request for tender (RFT) was
released for industry comment on 9 January 2013.
An Industry Brief on the draft RFT will be conducted
at RAAF Williams at 1330 hours on 24 January
2013. Release of a draft RFT offers industry an
opportunity to provide strategic feedback to Defence
on improving the RFT prior to final RFT release later
So tenders to be submitted late 2013, with a
decision sometime later in FY 2014-15, hopefully.
This implies IOC will be reached FY2017-18.
As already noted, the BAE Systems basic flying
screening and training contract runs until at least
2018, implying a decision on this billion dollar project
is unlikely before 2015.
What does this mean in terms of Life-of-Type (LOT)
for the existing CT-4 and PC-9 training aircraft?
CT4B’s were in use for initial RAAF flight training
from the early 1990’s, before a number of them
transferred either from the RAAF or private ownership
to BAE Systems, Tamworth in 2011. Therefore,
although reliable, they are getting old. The ADF
required that these aircraft be brought up to current
crashworthiness standards by incorporating the latest
FAR 23 amendments. This was done before BAE
commenced flying them. They are rugged aircraft
which can probably continue to operate, despite their
age, until replaced.
The last of 67 PC9/A aircraft was delivered in
March 1992, which means that by 2018 it will be
26 years old, while earlier delivered aircraft are even
older. Is this pushing planned Life-of-Type too far, or is
it a tribute to skilled preventative maintenance?
When Defence was asked: “In what year(s) is the
existing fleet of PC-9 pilot training aircraft expected to
reach Life-of-Type?” a spokesperson responded “The
PC-9 planned withdrawal date currently is 2016.
Technical risk, resource and cost analyses continue to
be conducted to determine the most effective means
of managing the transition from the PC-9 to the new
Project AIR 5428 capability.”
2016? Potentially two years before IOC of the
replacement aircraft. There will be some interesting
A Defence spokesperson explained: “Defining and
agreeing on requirements for pilot training is a complex
endeavour, and it is important to make sure all aspects
of the system to be procured will satisfy the range of end
Flight Lieutenant Steve English, a Qualified Flight
Instructor (QFI) a PC-9. Credit: CoA / Oliver Carter
25/01/13 7:25 PM
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