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Ascent is a training design and delivery organisation created as a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Babcock, which, following an open competition, was appointed in May 2008 as the Ministry of Defence’s Training Service Partner to deliver its training output. We have a 25-year contract to provide a United Kingdom Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) for the UK’s Armed Forces.
A Public Private Partnership (PPP), UKMFTS is able to draw upon the skills, expertise and legacy of Ascent, The Directorate of Flying Training for No 22 (Training) Group and the UKMFTS Project Team from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
The Hawk infrastructure at RAF Valley is complete and built to an exceptionally high standard, the Full mission Simulators are ‘flying’ and the first Ascent instructors are training on the new systems. For the Interim RN Observer training solution, the first King Air 350 has been fully modified, the Tactical Mission Trainer is ready, the hangar and squadron buildings have been upgraded, and like AJT the first Ascent Instructors and Staff Pilots have been appointed and are training.
The above is good progress, but perhaps even more significant is the progress that has been made on the Training System Design and on the Aircraft Service Provision competitions. We have developed the overarching design such that we now know for each of the 33 courses precisely what is to be taught on each lesson, the training media, the course length, the flying hours and the live/simulation balance. We completed the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire for the aircraft competitions and moved on to the Request for Proposals for Outline Solutions, at the start of September 2010, and by doing so have removed months from the programme timelines.
We have achieved an MFTS programme that is affordable, demonstrably Value for Money, and capable of bringing about the much needed improvements in the quality of the equipment, courses and infrastructure. I am even more convinced that the MFTS solution remains the best vehicle for delivering the highest standard of flying training to tomorrow’s military aircrew.