The UK Royal Air Force personnel currently travel overseas for simulator training, but under a new £11.5M (approx. $12.3 million USD) contract placed by Defence Equipment & Support with Raytheon UK, crews will be able to train on a Full Flight Simulator for Shadow Mk2 on home soil.
The Shadow Mk2 is due to enter service in 2024 under a £110M (approx. $133.9 million USD) contract placed with Raytheon UK in 2021.
Image by Royal Air Force
The removal of overseas travel will reduce the MOD’s carbon footprint, increase access to quality training and is set to save up to £200,000 (approx. $243,500 USD) a year in efficiencies.
The capability – a King Air 350 simulator – will also ensure the UK’s intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, reconnaissance (ISTAR) Force is able to better support existing UK and overseas commitments.
Richard Murray, Director Air Support at DE&S, added: “We are delighted to be providing the RAF with a UK-based solution which will be the first King Air 350 simulator in Europe. “Not only does this capability provide essential synthetic training for our military it offers financial, environmental and social value benefits to Defence and the UK.”
The contract award for a UK-based Full Flight Simulator follows the successful and on-time delivery of two strategic program milestones in the preceding months.
Image by Royal Air Force
The news comes as Raytheon UK announced that it has passed a Critical Design Review (CDR) on its work to increase the current fleet of six reconnaissance aircraft to eight, and to integrate the latest UK Sovereign Defensive Aids Systems.
The Critical Design Review confirms the baseline configuration for the aircraft, defining the equipment fit which will maintain this leading capability.
Based at RAF Waddington and flown by 14 Squadron, Shadow forms a key part of the RAF’s ISTAR force by gathering intelligence via its high-definition electro-optical and electronic sensors. Once data is gathered, satellite communication links enable the information to be assessed while the aircraft is airborne during a mission.
“The provision of a new synthetic training facility represents a further enhancement to the Programme of Record that will deliver an exceptionally capable ISR asset to Defence," said Air Commodore Hicks, Senior Responsible Owner for Shadow, "This is an exciting time for the programme as we prepare to accept delivery of our first Shadow Mk2 aircraft in 2024”.
The simulator is expected to be in service with Shadow crews by late 2024.
For more information about the UK's Royal Air Force, visit the official website here.
Info and images from: Royal Air Force