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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

12 July 2016

FIA2016: QinetiQ & Thales Select Textron AirLand SCORPION for ASDOT Bid

QinetiQ, Thales, and Textron AirLand, a Textron company, have announced a collaboration that will bid for the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) upcoming Air Support to Defence Operational Training (ASDOT) programme.

The three companies’ CEOs met at Farnborough International Airshow today to announce the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) setting the foundation for the bid. 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 £1.2 billion 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’s breadth of training service provision for air platforms spans from jet fighters, tactical transporters, helicopters to refuelling aircraft. Thales brings extensive experience in delivering fully managed training services and engineering bespoke high fidelity training equipment such as full mission simulators for leading air platforms such as A400M, Voyager, Tornado, Rafale, Mirage 2000, Hawk, and Eurofighter. Thales has an international footprint providing training and simulation products and services to a global customer network. Thales will also offer a range of sensors optimised for situational awareness, threat replication and targeting training, as well as Electronic Warfare capability.  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.”