Airbus Helicopters announced today that it has completed its service provision build-up for the UK’s Military Flying Training System (MFTS). As of October 2, the company is fully embedded at RAF Shawbury in Shropshire and RAF Valley, Wales, supporting Ascent’s training effort from newly modernised facilities.
Airbus completed of delivery of 29 Helionix-equipped Juno HT1s (H135s) and three Helionix, hoist-equipped Jupiter HT1s (H145s) earlier this year, marking the end of the delivery phase of the MFTS contract.
On April 1, the precise date of the RAF centenary, Airbus Helicopters was confirmed by Ascent and the Ministry of Defence as being ready for training use for the UK MFTS rotary-wing element. In a statement, the company said: “Since contract signature on May 16, 2016 to ready for training on April 1, 2018, Airbus Helicopters has delivered on time and to cost against an extremely demanding timescale.”
The entry into service of the Juno and Jupiter this year marks 45 years and three generations of Airbus Helicopters aircraft providing continuous military flying training in the UK – following the selection of the SA341 Gazelle in 1973 for the Royal Navy, British Army and the RAF Central Flying School (Helicopters) and the choice of AS350 Squirrels in 1997 for the Defence Helicopter Flying School.
Ascent Flight Training is providing the UK’s MFTS under contract to the Ministry of Defence. Teams of pilots, engineers, planners and instructors were fully engaged with the Ascent fielding team, ensuring that skills and capability were ramped up in preparation for initial training to begin.
For the rotary-wing element of UKMFTS, 32 helicopters were ordered. These comprise 29 Junos (serials ZM504 to ZM532) and three Jupiters (ZM500 to ZM502). In case there is a requirement for additional helicopters to meet increased training requirements, serials ZM533 and ZM534 have been reserved for two more Junos and ZM503 for one more Jupiter, should these be acquired at some future date.