Thales’ A400M full-flight simulator allows an instructor to closely monitor performance and adjust scenarios to meet the training needs of flight crew. (Thales)
LONDON — Royal Air Force crews set to fly the new Atlas A400M airlifter are to be trained by a joint venture company set up by Airbus Military and Thales UK.
The deal is contracted to run for 18 years at a cost of 226 million pounds ($340 million), the joint venture company, known as A400M Training Services, announced Monday.
Separately, the Ministry of Defence revealed it is spending 80 million pounds to modify the Atlas aircraft so it can be fitted with a large aircraft infrared countermeasures system.
The training facility being built at the Brize Norton home of the RAF’s airlifter and inflight refueling fleets is scheduled to be completed in spring 2014, just ahead of the delivery date of the first A400M to the RAF.
Air crew and ground maintenance and support personnel will be trained at the Atlas facility using Thales-supplied simulators and other synthetic systems.
Thales secured the simulator supply deal in 2007 following a competition.
RAF personnel are already being trained at an Airbus training facility alongside the Seville, Spain, assembly base for the aircraft
The British are due to operate 22 of the new airlifters alongside Boeing C-17 and Lockheed Martin C-130J airlifters and A330 tanker/transports from the Brize Norton base in southern England.
If things go to plan, the first A400M is due to be handed over to the French Air Force in the middle of this year.