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6 septembre 2013 5 06 /09 /septembre /2013 06:50
RAF Hawk T2 trainers photo UK MoD

RAF Hawk T2 trainers photo UK MoD

Sept. 5, 2013 by Craig Hoyle – FG


London - Early use of the Royal Air Force's BAE Systems Hawk T2 advanced jet trainer has dramatically boosted the quality of instruction being provided to UK students, programme officials say.


A first course of four ab initio pilots completed their training on the T2 with 4 Sqn at Valley in June 2013, before progressing to the RAF's 29 Sqn operational conversion unit (OCU) for the Eurofighter Typhoon at Coningsby in Lincolnshire.


"I think we've doubled the standard of the students," says Alasdair Shinner, station manager at the Anglesey base for Lockheed Martin/Babcock joint venture Ascent; the Ministry of Defence's training system partner for the Military Flying Training System (MFTS) programme. The T2 has the potential to deliver a "multi-role, combat-ready pilot" to the OCU, he adds, whereas the RAF's analogue cockpit Hawk T1s "weren't giving them relevant training for the aircraft that they were going to be flying".


Several additional courses are now under way, with these including RAF and Royal Navy students and 11 more UK qualified flying instructors (QFI). With only 50% of system capacity currently being used on a 28-aircraft fleet, potential options to increase the volume of training delivered include preparing additional RAF QFIs, increasing the number of instructors sourced from other air forces from a current one each from Australia, Canada and France, or approving Ascent-employed instructors to command some flights, officials say.


"Spare capacity is something that is being looked at, but there is no simple answer," says Gp Capt Simon Blake, from the RAF's 22 Group training organisation. "Lots of other air forces are coming here and seeing that we are filling the [training capability] gap," he notes.


Meanwhile, activities involving the RAF's Hawk T1-equipped 208 Sqn have been extended at Valley, with the service currently providing Phase IV lead-in fighter training for Royal Saudi Air Force pilots. Riyadh will take delivery of its first of 22 T2-equivalent Hawks from BAE in 2015, with Oman also having ordered eight of the new-generation type.


The remainder of the MFTS programme's fixed-wing equipment package should be determined by 2015, with a side-by-side-configuration type to deliver elementary training and a turboprop-powered basic trainer offering "jet-like performance" to be acquired as a replacement for the RAF's current Shorts Tucano T1s. Operations should commence from around 2018, says Ascent training director Simon Falla.

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19 août 2013 1 19 /08 /août /2013 16:50
An RAF Hawk T2 fast jet training aircraft lands at RAF Valley (library image) [Picture: Corporal Paul Oldfield RAF, Crown copyright]

An RAF Hawk T2 fast jet training aircraft lands at RAF Valley (library image) [Picture: Corporal Paul Oldfield RAF, Crown copyright]

16 August 2013 Ministry of Defence


Defence minister Philip Dunne has visited RAF Valley in Anglesey to see how military fast jet pilots of the future are being trained.


One of the roles of RAF Valley is to provide advanced fast jet training, producing world-class combat pilots for the RAF, Royal Navy and international partner air forces.

During his visit, Mr Dunne, the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, saw first-hand how students of 4 Squadron capitalise on the benefits of the synthetic training environment, from mission planning to the detailed debriefs drawing on the wealth of information assimilated during live flying.

Mr Dunne said:

I was delighted to see the highly sophisticated flying training system which was introduced last year at RAF Valley.

Philip Dunne at RAF Valley
Left to right: RAF Valley Station Commander, Group Captain Adrian Hill, Defence Minister Philip Dunne, and Mr Al Shinner of Ascent [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Mark Dixon, Crown copyright]

The innovative UK Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) brings together the Hawk T2 aircraft, qualified RAF flying instructors and cutting-edge flight and mission simulators to ensure the next generation of fast jet pilots are fully prepared for their transition to the front line:

The extensive use of synthetic training means that every flying hour is more productive than before and makes this entire programme more cost effective for the United Kingdom,” said Mr Dunne. “It also reduces the time taken to familiarise pilots with flying a combat aircraft when they move to an operational role.

The training system at RAF Valley combines military instructors and a primary civilian contractor, Ascent, to deliver a cost-effective range of synthetic training on the ground, using a range of simulators. The advanced cockpit of the Hawk T2 closely resembles that of current and future combat aircraft such as the Typhoon, the Tornado GR4 and the Lightning II.

Hawk T2 fast jet simulator
An RAF airman demonstrates a Hawk T2 fast jet simulator at RAF Valley (library image) [Picture: Corporal Paul Oldfield RAF, Crown copyright]

Group Captain Adrian Hill, RAF Valley’s Station Commander, said:

Each student covers a much wider syllabus than ever before, delivering a more proficient fast jet pilot to front line operational conversion units in preparation for their future operational role.

The Hawk T2 is an integral part of the UKMFTS, a training system that enables a significant download of training from front line aircraft to more inexpensive training platforms and synthetic training systems.

The minister has seen how we, military and contractor, work together to produce some of the finest combat pilots in the world. Our students leave here extremely well prepared for the challenges they will face on the front line.

Mr Dunne is shown around the cockpit of an RAF Sea King search and rescue helicopter
Mr Dunne is shown around the cockpit of an RAF Sea King search and rescue helicopter at RAF Valley [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Mark Dixon, Crown copyright]

During his visit, Mr Dunne also thanked the locals of Anglesey who continue to support the RAF in their crucial flying training activity, and the vital search and rescue service provided by 22 Squadron.

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14 juin 2013 5 14 /06 /juin /2013 11:50
Hawk T2 jets pictured during a flight over North Wales (library image) [Picture: Corporal Paul Oldfield RAF, Crown copyright]

Hawk T2 jets pictured during a flight over North Wales (library image) [Picture: Corporal Paul Oldfield RAF, Crown copyright]



13 June 2013 Ministry of Defence


The first pilots have graduated from the UK's new advanced fast jet training course.



Four RAF pilots have completed the Hawk T2 training at RAF Valley, learning using the latest simulator technology as well as live flying.

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, praised the efforts of the 4 Royal Air Force pilots of Advanced Fast Jet Training Course 001.

Sir Stephen said:

The pilots who graduated today can be proud of what they have achieved as the pioneers of this new advanced training system, the Hawk T2, and can look forward with confidence that, following their conversion to operational aircraft, they will very soon take on their roles on Royal Air Force front line squadrons.

Having completed the course on the new Hawk they are some of the best trained pilots to graduate from UK fast jet training. Royal Air Force Valley delivers the most advanced fast jet training programme in the world. At the core of it, the Hawk’s advanced cockpit closely resembles that of our current and future combat aircraft, which will reduce the time required to convert to flying an operational aircraft, be that Typhoon, Tornado or the Lightning II.

The live flying at RAF Valley, on the Hawk T2, is supported by an increasing range of synthetic training on the ground. This makes every flying hour more productive and makes this entire programme even more cost effective for the UK.

A pilot demonstrates a Hawk fast jet simulator
A pilot demonstrates a Hawk fast jet simulator (library image) [Picture: Corporal Mark Dixon, Crown copyright]

While the previous Hawk T1 had a traditional cockpit with dials and instruments, the Hawk T2’s ‘glass’ cockpit is equipped with multi-function display screens, making it able to simulate a modern combat aircraft like the Typhoon or Lightning II.

Training on the ground is also ahead of that offered anywhere else. So called ‘synthetic’ training, using a range of simulators, means that each student covers a wider syllabus than before delivering a more proficient fast jet pilot to the front line operational conversion units (OCU) where they complete further training before they move to an operational role.

The course is 11 months long, with around 120 hours of live flying and a similar number of synthetic hours. There is no final examination as such, but the last trip on the course involves evading airborne and surface-to-air threats at medium and low level. The students then have to fly a Paveway IV bomb attack against a designated target whilst trying to evade a low-level airborne threat. They then have to lead their wingman home in a simulated emergency.

Formal graduation photo
Back Row: The 4 graduating pilots: Flying Officer David Wild, Flight Lieutenant Victoria Lyle, Flight Lieutenant Steven Moore and Flying Officer Thomas Wallington [Picture: Corporal Andy Ferguson RAF, Crown copyright]

In a statement, the 4 students said:

Being on the first T2 course has proved to be an exciting and rewarding opportunity. Whilst there have undoubtedly been both pros and cons to being the T2 ‘Test Pilots’, we have been privileged to have the chance to be the very first students to receive this world-leading training.

The structure of the course has allowed us to learn entirely new skill sets which will hopefully stand us in good stead on both the OCU and beyond. The final sortie was a fitting culmination of the different phases and involved a mission that required detailed planning, leading to the employment of medium and low level evasion tactics, whilst reacting to an evolving intelligence scenario and a variety of surface to air threats.

Pilot using a fast jet simulator
A pilot demonstrates one of the simulators used on the UK's advanced fast jet programme (library image) [Picture: Crown copyright]

The Station Commander at RAF Valley, Group Captain Adrian Hill, said:

This is the first graduation under the newly developed UK Military Flying Training System, in partnership with Ascent Flight Training. Royal Air Force Valley can produce a pilot who is now, more than ever before, able to master platforms of the future and deliver air power effects for the RAF which directly supports our success on operations. We take great pride in the quality of our training, which is reflected in the achievements of these high caliber officers, and their families can feel justifiably proud of their achievement.

The next course, with 2 Royal Navy and 4 Royal Air Force pilots, will graduate in August.

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14 juin 2013 5 14 /06 /juin /2013 07:50
First RAF students ace Hawk T2 course

Jun. 13, 2013 by Craig Hoyle – FG


London - The first four Royal Air Force student pilots to fly the service's BAE Systems Hawk T2 advanced jet trainer under the UK Military Flying Training System (MFTS) programme graduated at RAF Valley in north Wales on 12 June.


Lasting roughly 11 months, the lead advanced fast jet trainer course comprised around 120 live flying hours and a similar number delivered using synthetic training devices, the RAF says. The students' instruction culminated with a sortie simulating the delivery of a precision-guided bomb in a scenario involving surface-to-air missile threats and enemy fighters, it adds.


The increased use of synthetic training via MFTS, "has unlocked the potential to improve efficiency and lower costs," says Jim Keeler, managing director of Lockheed Martin/Babcock joint venture Ascent Flight Training - the Ministry of Defence's training system partner for the project.


A second course, with four RAF and two Royal Navy student pilots, is due to conclude in August 2013.


First RAF students ace Hawk T2 course

The RAF has received a total of 28 Hawk T2s.

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