Speaking at the 9th Annual Defence IQ Military Flight Training (MFT) Conference, Colonel Kris Dewilde, Chairman of the Advanced European Jet Pilot Training (AEJPT) Programme Group from the Belgian Armed Forces, informed a large audience of the latest plans for the future military pilot training system of the Consortium of European Nations.
The Pre-contract MOU was signed in 2008, with a planned duration of 4 years until a development contract was to be let. However, under a recently agreed strategy, an RFI (Request for Information) has been issued with answers to be received by the 15th March 2010. Following this, a meeting with industry is planned for the 14th April and an analysis of the RFI replies will be carried out from April to July.
An RFP (Request for Proposals) could be issued by October 2011 and a development contract by January 2014. IOC would then follow in 2017, with FOC in 2020. A new management structure is being developed and the participating nations would be required to make a decision, when the RFP is released, on whether they stay in the programme or leave. No observer status (as is now the case), would be permitted. It was thought that OCCAR might act as the contracting agency.
The currently participating nations are Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. Germany and the Netherlands currently have observer status and Switzerland also has a possible interest.
The cost share will depend on the numbers of students trained per nation. A maximum of 167 student pilots, plus 10 WSOs (Weapon Systems Operators) are planned to be trained per year and aircraft will be based at 1Northern and 1 Southern European base under current plans, but no decision has yet been made on their locations.
The new management group will develop a business model, consider competitive issues and establish a legal framework. A medium to high level of outsourcing is considered likely, but budget approval will be crucial to the future of AEJPT. Many military flight training experts at the MFT conference were sceptical that a consensus, backed by firm funding, would ever be achieved by the European nations.