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AIR 5428 PHASE 1
Squadron (4SQN) and the Aircraft Research and
Development Unit (ARDU) as potential replacements
for their existing PC-9 aircraft. 4SQN and ARDU are
considered ancillary users of the PTS capability.”
There are key questions which will need to be
To what extent can Australian industry best be
involved in PTS design, development, integration and
- Wh ich Flight Training Devices (FTDs) will be used
for flight screening and platforms for all aspects of
ab-initio pilot and QFI training?
Which bases will be used? Currently BAE
Systems conduct the Flight Screening Program (FSP)
at Tamworth, under a contract which expires in 2018.
The Basic Flying Training School (BFTS) is at RAAF
Base East Sale, while Advanced Flying Training (AFT,
also known as 2FTS) is at RAAF Base Pearce.
- Wi ll there be one aircraft type for both introductory
and more advanced training within the PTS? Or two?
How will the transition between the old and new
PTS be accomplished?
Industry has two questions of its own. In particular,
why is the RFT so prescriptive when all the tenderers,
likely to be considered seriously, have extensive
experience of their own and could provide the basis
of a PTS without being so constrained in what they
are to propose? And because of the cost of tendering
so much detail, wouldn’t it have been better to have
a simple qualifying tender document with detailed
specifications and costs being negotiated with one
down selected team, keeping another as a reserve?
The obvious requirement is for COTS/MOTS fixed
wing platforms (one or more types), to replace the
existing CT-4B and PC/9A aircraft. These will need
to be capable of conducting all phases of basic
and advanced pilot training including aerobatics,
all-weather operations and navigation training utilising
advanced digital displays and mission planning tools.
The chosen contractor will have to provide all aircraft
support and sustainment services.
New ground training elements will be required,
including Computer Based Training (CBT) and
Computer Aided Instruction (CAI). The RFT mandates
the supply and full support of high fidelity FTDs.
Flight screening will be conducted solely on these
FTDs, which must offer the same characteristics as
the chosen PTS aircraft. These simulators will be
used throughout basic and advanced phases of PTS
including QFI staff continuation training, as well as
emergency handling and currency testing.
A full learning environment is to be provided by
the chosen contractor. This is to be “. . . a modern,
integrated and effective ground training solution for
delivering training requirements identified in the ADF
Pilot and Fixed Wing QFI Training Requirements
For BFTS and AFT the contractor is to coordinate
and provide ground instruction “for lessons relating
to basic aviation theory including aerodynamics,
meteorology, air traffic control, flight instruments
and navigation and aircraft specific systems. ADF
instructors will deliver all ground school instruction at
CFS and military specific subjects such as airmanship
and AVMED, and will provide student facilitation
lectures, mass briefs, tutorials as well as military
specific course orientation and induction lectures, at
the other schools.”
TRANSITION TO THE PTS
The Planned Withdrawal Date (PWD) for the PC9/A,
used in the current AFT, is June 2016 - according to
The RFT states: “As PTS continuity is essential,
a replacement of the Advanced Flight Training
(AFT) regime of the PTS must have achieved Initial
Operational Capability (IOC) prior to any reduction in
the current AFT capability or its feeder courses within
the current BFT activity. Additionally, for Navy, in order
that its continuum output requirements are continued
to be met, there is a critical relationship between the
timing for implementation of both AIR 5428 and AIR
9000 Phase 7 (HATS).”
Defence recognises that the transition between the
current and new PTS will be challenging for it and its
chosen contractor. There will be a period when both
systems are active, requiring ‘bridging courses’ and
possibly interim arrangements, particularly should
PC/9s be withdrawn before the new PTS aircraft
The highly experienced Raytheon/BAE Systems/
Hawker Beechcraft team is a certain contender.
BAE Systems have the current FSP responsibility
while Raytheon Australia has established its training
credentials through its work on the Hornet Aircrew
Training System, Super Hornet Training Support
Services Contract, Electronic Warfare Training
Services Aircraft as well as the RAN’s Retention and
Motivation Initiative (RMI) and RMI 2 contracts. They
are likely to propose the Hawker Beechcraft T-6C
Texan II turboprop training aircraft, which is used by
the USAF and USN. A T-6C was displayed at the
Avalon 2013 Air Show.
Pilatus is expected to promote a single aircraft
type, the PC-21, for all PTS requirements. At RAAF
Base Pearce, Lockheed Martin and Pilatus are already
conducting pilot training for the Republic of Singapore
Air Force (RSAF) using a modern, customised ground
training package and PC-21 aircraft. Some industry
insiders consider that the Pilatus solution appears to
be a very good fit for PTS requirements.
In a separate bid, Lockheed Martin are likely to
invoke their international and RSAF Basic Wings
Course experience at RAAF Base Pearce, tendering
the PC-21 aircraft, PC-21 FTDs and other customised
ground training assets.
Pacific Aerospace of New Zealand could well team
with an international prime. They could offer a single
aircraft solution with their high performance P750
turboprop or a two aircraft type solution with a glass
cockpit CT-4E for introductory courses, then the P750
for advanced flying. They have not yet declared who
that international partner might be.
Boeing Australia and Thales Australia both
tendered the Grob 120A aircraft, unsuccessfully,
when competing for the Interim Basic Flying Training
(IBFT) contract which was won by BAE Systems. The
more advanced turboprop Grob 120TP, with its glass
cockpit and Virtual Tactical Training (VTT) system
could be their choice for what Grob Aircraft AG calls
‘a sophisticated mission training platform that can
accommodate typical elementary, basic and advanced
pilot training segments’. A Grob 120TP side-by-side
turboprop trainer was on display at Avalon 2013.
Embraer and Finmeccanica are certain to study the
RFT closely, likely to submit full tenders, and there may
yet be other international firms in contention.
TIMING IS CRITICAL
The new PTS is expected to last for 25 years,
hence the amount of work going into getting the
The timings which follow are approximations based
on current expectations in the RFT, and are not fixed.
Second Pass Approval (SPA) will have to come
during FY 2014-15 to give any chance of getting
the new PTS in place within a reasonable time from
withdrawal of the PC/9s. The In Service Date (ISD)
could then be another 21 months, with IOC 18
months later, and FOC 3 years after that.
Assume, hypothetically, SPA was achieved by
September 2014. Then ISD could be December
2015, and IOC June 2017, one year after the PC/9
LOT expiry in June 2016.
After such a lengthy gestation process, DMO and
Industry will now be very challenged to get through
the next stages in a timely manner. The end result
will be worth the effort, but let’s hope Government
Defence Budget cuts and decision delays do not hold
up this important project any further. ¢
22/08/13 2:28 PM
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