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MFTS Contractor Renews Contest for Fixed-Wing Service Provider

Dec. 10, 2012 - 01:17PM   |  
By ANDREW CHUTER   |   Comments
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LONDON — The Lockheed Martin-Babcock consortium running Britain’s tri-service Military Flying Training System (MFTS) has re-launched a competition to find a fixed-wing service provider to supply and support elementary, basic and multi-engine aircraft.

Ascent, a 50/50-owned venture set up by the two companies to run the 25-year MFTS, said it recently released a request for proposals (RfP). Draft proposals to interested contractors were released earlier in the year.

The company said in a statement that bidders would have 90 days to “respond to an output-based specification that includes supplying aircraft, aircraft-related infrastructure and support to 2030 and beyond.”

Consortia led by BAE Systems, EADS Cassidian and Elbit are expected to respond. Grob, Pilatus, Hawker Beechcraft and Citation aircraft are among those previously touted by the rival bidders to meet the requirement.

EADS said it will respond to the RfP despite the break-up of its Team C3 consortium. Cobham and CAE have both withdrawn in the last few months, leaving EADS to seek new partners.

Bidders to provide three aircraft types and synthetic training in the long-term supply and support deal were originally sought in 2010, but the program was delayed by heavy cuts to British military flying capabilities in the wake of the government’s strategic defense and security review.

Ministry of Defence endorsement of a revised MFTS plan earlier this year has allowed Ascent to push ahead with the fixed-wing service provision competition.

Ascent said it doesn’t expect to award the contract until 2015. A start date for the service appears unlikely before 2017.

A similar scheme to acquire training helicopters was put on ice around April. Together, the fixed- and rotary-wing programs would have been worth up to 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) over the life of cost.

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