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01:56 PM, July 12, 2016
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QinetiQ, Thales and Textron Collaborate To Bid For UK Air Support to Defence Operational Training Programme
Company representatives of QinetiQ, Thales and Textron with Scorpion jet

QinetiQ, Thales and Textron AirLand have announced a collaboration at Farnborough International Airshow today that will 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 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 Jan 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 air worthiness regulations. The solution will include provision for the introduction of synthetic operational training and airborne aerial target capabilities.

Steve Wadey, QinetiQ CEO, said: “Our test and evaluation pedigree makes us ideally placed to introduce the highly capable Scorpion for use in the ASDOT programme. Our people are experts in cost effective aircraft operation, providing significant savings to the MOD while offering the highest standard of support to UK defence operational training. Collaborative working of this nature is vital within the aerospace and defence industries, and I believe this partnership puts us all in a strong position to succeed.”    

Thales will offer a range of sensors optimised for situational awareness, threat replication and targeting training, as well as Electronic Warfare capability. Thales systems and sensors designed for defence and security applications provide superior intelligence gathering and threat detection to make better informed decisions.

Victor Chavez, Thales UK CEO, said: “Through this unique partnership with QinetiQ and Textron and the complementary expertise within our respective fields, we have the opportunity to offer all three armed services the most effective, cutting edge technology coupled with world leading training and services expertise. The UK Ministry of Defence will be able to benefit from the collaboration of technologies and knowledge to deliver important long-term Air Operational Training services.”

Textron AirLand will offer its Scorpion jet, selected by QinetiQ and Thales after a comprehensive analysis of over 50 aircraft. This selection was based on the aircraft’s multi-mission capability, combined with unparalleled acquisition and operating costs and a dispatch reliability rating exceeding 98 percent.

Scott Donnelly, Textron’s Chairman and CEO, said: “The Scorpion jet provides the multi-role capability and performance necessary to perform the ASDOT programme missions at a fraction of the acquisition and operating costs compared to any other aircraft in its class. Textron is confident this team will provide the platform and support necessary to carry out vital military training missions. We look forward to strengthening our relationship with these industry-leading companies as we compete for the ASDOT programme.”

Scorpion is a bold new direction for tactical aircraft. The aircraft is very versatile in terms of mission flexibility with a centre payload bay, six hard points, high dash speeds and extended endurance and loiter time at cruise speeds. The Scorpion is built to excel in many roles, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, close air support, armed reconnaissance, maritime and border patrol and jet training missions. 

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