Cobham has delivered four converted Hawker-Beechcraft B350ER King Air special mission aircraft to Ascent Flight Training Limited for the United Kingdom Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS). The delivery occurred 9 June at a ceremony at Cobham Aviation Services' facility adjacent to Bournemouth International Airport, UK.
"These aircraft, and the services provided by Ascent and Cobham, offer the Royal Navy a huge leap in its capability to conduct primary flight training of aircrew," said Des Taylor, general manager of Cobham Aviation Services.
Royal Navy and Ascent personnel will use these four aircraft to train RN Observers to navigate and operate their aircraft tactically, prior to commencing operational flying training on Lynx, Merlin and Sea King helicopters. Fitted out with twin Student training consoles and twin Instructor consoles, the aircraft will be equipped with a 360-degree Telephonic RDR1700A under-belly radar and full navigation and communications suites. The onboard training system will be managed by CAE's Tactical Mission Trainer software system, which will include the Blue Ridge synthetic radar embedded within. Collectively, this new system will enable numerous opportunities to "download" training from later stages in the training pipeline. The Royal Australian Air Force and Canadian Armed Forces use a similar system for training their tactical navigators.
Cobham Aviation Services at Bournemouth International Airport received the approximately pound20 million contract from Ascent during mid-2009 to convert these aircraft for the role, and to provide daily in-service support for an initial period of five years at RNAS Culdrose, FR Aviation Ltd. doing business as Cobham commencing 1st July 2011. These King Air aircraft replace the now retired Jetstream T2 aircraft, and will be operated by 750 Naval Air Squadron at Culdrose.
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