QinetiQ, Thales and Textron AirLand have formed a team to bid for the UK Ministry of Defence’s upcoming Air Support to Defence Operational Training (ASDOT) programme. The operational training activities that will comprise the ASDOT programme are currently fulfilled by a number of providers, both military and civilian. This team says it will propose “an innovative, cost-effective, technologically advanced reliable managed service” using the Textron AirLand Scorpion jet equipped with Thales and QinetiQ sensors to provide a broad spectrum of training for all three armed services.
The competitive contract, expected to be awarded in September 2018 with a service delivery start in January 2020, is anticipated to be worth up to £1.2bn over 15 years.
QinetiQ will offer the safe operation of a highly capable and flexible mixed fleet of Scorpion and other platforms – including maintenance and provision of pilots. Its proposal will include integration of sensors and jamming pods into the aerial fleet and certification of the aircraft to ensure compliance with military airworthiness regulations.
Thales brings experience in delivering fully managed training services and engineering bespoke high-fidelity training equipment such as full-mission simulators for platforms such as A400M, Voyager, Tornado, Rafale, Mirage 2000, Hawk and Eurofighter. Thales will also offer a range of sensors optimised for situational awareness, threat replication and targeting training, as well as Electronic Warfare capability.
Textron AirLand will offer its Scorpion jet, which is claimed to provide the multi-role capability and performance necessary to perform the ASDOT programme missions at a fraction of the acquisition and operating costs of other aircraft in its class. The twin-engine platform, which made its first flight in December 2013, has attracted interest from potential customers but is still looking to secure a launch order.