The Royal Air Force T-6C Texan T1 has completed a first flight under the Military Flight Training System (MFTS) at RAF Valley. The aircraft completed a training flight at Welsh base yesterday, February 21.
The Texan T1 is being introduced as part of a £1.2bn investment in fixed-wing aircraft training under the Military Flight Training System (MFTS), designed to train and prepare junior UK pilots for the front line.
Defence Minister Stuart Andrew said: “It’s crucial that our fighter pilots of the future train on the very best equipment before reaching the front line to protect UK airspace at home and defend our interests abroad.
“The introduction of the Texan T1 into one of NATO’s most advanced fighter pilot training programmes demonstrates the RAF’s commitment to investing in world-leading technology to maintain a military advantage over our adversaries.”
The first pair of Texans from a total of ten ordered was delivered to Valley in February last year for maintenance training and the final aircraft arrived at the base on December 3. The Texan will eventually replace the Tucano T1 in the fast jet training programme.
Wing Commander Chris Ball, commanding officer of the Texan Integration Squadron at RAF Valley added: “Under the Military Flying Training System, fighter pilots will train on world-leading aircraft. They start on the Prefect, move on to the Texan and finish on the Hawk T2, making the training process more efficient and far more representative of the aircraft types they will eventually fly. The Texan is the ideal lead-in trainer to the Hawk T2 advanced jet trainer that they will fly here at Valley.”
The forthcoming April issue of AFM includes a full analysis of the MFTS programme and asks whether the service is getting value for money from its current aircrew training pipeline.