Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR Feb 2014 Contents Asia Pacific Defence Reporter feb 2014 13
An Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) is fired from
HMAS Perth at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii
given “Commercial-in-Confidence” access to the full
document, of over 2200 pages, by the PTS Project
Team. APDR continues to respect that obligation in
its subsequent articles on the PTS, however much we
feel editorially it is in the public interest to have more
transparency in Defence’s acquisition processes.
Although the ADF has successfully used UAVs in
Afghanistan and elsewhere, and is actively investigating
the use of High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) UAVs
for Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS), it will
still need to graduate around 100 pilots a year for all
three Services, which will in turn require around 36
Qualified Flight Instructors (QFI) to be involved in pilot
The aircraft acquired by this project will probably be
also used by 4 Squadron (4SQN) for training Forward
Air Controllers (FAC) 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
and suitability for their needs is not a mandatory
consideration for this project.
ADF PILOT TRAINING
Each year over 250 applicants are considered during
testing and interviews, with those selected at this
stage going forward to the Flight Screening Program
(FSP) at BAE Systems Training Academy at Tamworth,
under a contract which expires in 2018.
Defence Recruiting on its website advises potential
pilots entering the FSP that there are two courses –
Basic and Advanced. "Both courses encompass 15
hours of flight time and are two weeks in duration.
Scores are awarded on a per sequence basis for a
number of sortie profiles."
Selected students then move on to the Basic Flying
Training School (BFTS) at RAAF Base East Sale
in Victoria, before progressing to Advanced Flying
Training (AFT, also known as 2FTS) at RAAF Base
Pearce, Western Australia. At both flying schools there
is a mix of classroom lectures, study activities, self-
paced learning and further flying instruction.
While BFTS uses CT-4B piston-engined aircraft,
2 FTS uses the more advanced PC-9/A turboprop
Life of Type for the PC-9/A aircraft is rapidly being
reached and it will be a stretch to keep these safely
operational until the future PTS aircraft are released for
service. Possibly some interim flight training platform
will be required, before currently predicted PC-9/A
LOT expiry in June 2016.
At RAAF Base Pearce, the co-located Republic
of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) pilot training 130
Squadron uses a modern, customised ground training
package and PC-21 aircraft, provided through a
contract led by Lockheed Martin and Pilatus.
The PTS is to increase the current number of
pilots graduating from around 77 per year at present,
to 105 per year – comprising 13 Navy, 44 Army,
and 48 Air Force. Commensurate with this change
is a requirement to increase the annual number of
Qualified Flying Instructors (QFI) to 36.
Navy and Army pilots will move from the PTS onto
the Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS), while
Air Force graduates commence the Lead-in Fighter
and operational conversion courses.
TRAINING TECHNOLOGY WILL BE
The chosen training aircraft platform is not the
most important part of the PTS. However, there is
considerable interest in the platform choice as it is
easy to understand. The more complex aspects of
training curriculum, synthetic training devices, etc. are
less easily followed but are really more important.
Flying highly complex and sophisticated aircraft
requires a lot of preparation. As an example, even
experienced pilots need a lot of ground time
preparation. In the US, an experienced Dutch pilot Maj.
Laurens J.W. Vijge, Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35
Integrated Training Center training lead, completed his
first F-35 flight after 210 hours of classroom training
and 13 flights in the simulators.
“The jet handles great and is very easy to fly – in fact,
it’s actually easier to fly than the simulator,” said Vijge.
“I could not have been better prepared than I was for
Although very specific about the ground-based pilot
training system requirements, Defence has kept an
open mind on whether there should continue to be
two aircraft types to cover Basic and Advanced flying
training, or whether there should just be one type
of high performance aircraft. The PTS Project Team
spokesperson told APDR “Defence expects that there
will be tenders that include the use of a single aircraft
type or two aircraft types.”
If a single training aircraft type is chosen, this is a
bigger jump in terms of aptitude at the start of IFT.
APDR asked Defence “Can existing potential pilot
screening methods continue, with the performance
jump to a much more powerful single type of training
aircraft for IFT and beyond, be adequately covered by
time on synthetic training devices?"
The PTS Project Spokesperson replied “Defence
intends to employ high fidelity flight training devices
for pilot development for Air Force, Army and Navy
ab-initio students as an enabler for airborne training.
Additionally, the PTS training devices will contribute
to the cognitive assessment for pilot flight screening,
enabling transition to the selected aircraft platform(s).”
PTS TENDER NOW CLOSES 31
Originally the PTS Tender was due to close 17
February 2014, but this has now been extended by six
weeks and is now 31 March 2014.
When APDR investigated this further, the PTS
Project Team spokesperson said “Defence has issued
five amendments to the RFT and considered that this
supported the need for Tenderers to have additional
time in order to submit quality tenders.”
Even though a lot of work by the project team goes
into preparing an RFT, there are inevitably a number of
clarifications requested by potential tenderers. When
APDR asked about that volume, the spokesperson
replied “To date, Defence has received around 100
questions regarding the RFT. The number of questions
A Hawker Beechcraft AT-6C, modified for various light-attack missions, releases
flares during an operational test. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Dave Neve)
28/01/14 3:16 PM
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