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I/ITSEC 2016: French Air Force looks to outsource pilot training equipment

28th November 2016 - 21:02 by Trevor Nash in Orlando

I/ITSEC 2016: French Air Force looks to outsource pilot training equipment

France's military procurement agency (DGA) has ‘recommended’ that Babcock France be awarded a contract to provide and maintain a training aircraft fleet and related services for the French Air Force.

Known as the Formation modernisée et entrainment différencie des equipages de chase (FOMEDEC), this public, private partnership programme (PPP) is expected to be worth over €400 million to Babcock. The company says that around half of this figure will be used to buy aircraft and ground based training equipment.

Babcock Group is no stranger to providing flying training services. The company is a 50% share holder in Ascent Flight Training, the training service provider for the UK's Military Flying Training System (MFTS) programme.

FOMEDEC is designed to train fast-jet pilots and weapon system officers and it is thought that between 11,000 and 13,500 flying hours a year will be provided. As to aircraft, it is understood that a number of types are in the mix with the turboprop Pilatus PC-21 being the preferred choice.

Up to 20-25 aircraft are likely to be procured with current plans seeing them operated from BA705 Tours and BA709 Cognac air bases.

Babcock Group says that it, ‘is currently in advanced discussions with a leading French industrial partner regarding the execution of the 11-year contract to provide new training aircraft, related simulators and modernised training facilities.’ Flight training will be conducted by French Air Force instructors.

The company said that the ,’final contract award will be subject to the successful completion of the French Ministère de la Défense's approval process, following the usual pre-contractual standstill period.’

Growing numbers of air forces are now opting for the PPP route or similar contractor owned-contractor operated training aircraft fleets with France being no stranger to this commercial training service model. The French air force and army already use commercial contractors to deliver ab initio training.

For more from I/ITSEC 2016, see our dedicated news page.

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