Air Tattoo Showcases RAF Training Future
Published: 27 Apr 2017 updated: 19 Jun 2017
This summer's Air Tattoo will showcase the future of Royal Air Force fixed-wing aircrew training in a special static display jointly mounted by Elbit Systems and KBR. For the first time, visitors will be able to see the three latest aircraft types being provided to the RAF under the Military Flying Training System (MFTS) programme - the Grob Prefect, Beechcraft Texan and Embraer Phenom - in their RAF colours.
Prefect is the RAF's name for the turboprop-powered Grob G120TP. It will provide the elementary training element under MFTS, superseding another of German manufacturer Grob's products in the shape of the piston-engined Tutor. Its name recalls the Avro Prefect biplane trainer used between the wars.
The Texan, otherwise known as the Beechcraft T-6C, will perform the basic flying training stage. It too is a turboprop, and will replace the Shorts Tucano. The Phenom is part of Brazilian manufacturer Embraer's business jet family, the MFTS programme involving the Phenom 100 model. It is set to take over the multi-engine crew training role from the Beech King Air B200 turboprop.
Affinity Flying Training Services, a joint venture between Elbit Systems and KBR, was selected by the UK Ministry of Defence in October 2014 as the winner of the MFTS contract. Its deal runs until 2033, and takes in the training not just of RAF but also Royal Navy and Army Air Corps fixed-wing pilots.
The Prefects and Texans will operate from RAF Barkston Heath and RAF Cranwell, Lincolnshire, and the Phenoms from Cranwell. An initial pair of Prefects arrived in Britain last November. The other RAF-operated fixed-wing element of MFTS, the advanced jet training stage, is already operational at RAF Valley, Anglesey, on the BAE Systems Hawk T2.