The Air Force said Wednesday it awarded FlightSafety International an approximately $78 million fixed-price-incentive-firm contract for engineering, manufacturing and development (EMD) work of the KC-46 aircrew training system (ATS).

The contract also includes delivery of courseware and simulator-based training systems. The initial obligation of the contract will be $1 million with the remaining amount being incrementally funded based on options for production, training, operations and sustainment that, if exercised, will increase the value of the contract.

The Air Force said five companies submitted bids for the contract with Lockheed Martin [LMT], Boeing [BA], and L-3 [LLL] all confirming entries to Defense Daily. Lockheed Martin spokesman Scott Lusk said Wednesday in a statement the company is disappointed it was not selected and that it remains committed to providing superior training for F-35, F-22, F-15, F-16, C-5 and C-130 airmen.

The KC-46 is the Air Force’s next-generation aerial refueling tanker. The Pentagon in February 2011 awarded Boeing an initial $3.5 billion contract for the delivery of the first 18 KC-46s by 2017, with the total program of 179 planes valued at upwards of $30 billion (Defense Daily; Oct. 14, 2011).

FlightSafety said in a statement it will design and manufacture the KC-46 weapon system, boom operator and part task trainers at its simulation facility in Oklahoma, a 375,000 square foot building with the capacity to build up to 19 full flight simulators at a time. The last time FlightSafety was awarded an Air Force contract was in 2011 when it was selected to provide an ATS for the C-5. FlightSafety spokesman Steve Phillips said yesterday the majority of the company’s business is providing training to pilots and technicians of corporate aircraft and commercial airliners.

FlightSafety said its current military programs include Flight School XXI, C-5 ATS, Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (JPATS), T-6 Contractor Logistics Support, T-37/38 Contractor Logistics Support, KC-10 ATS, C-17 weapon system trainers, HC-130P weapon system trainers, MC-22/V-22 Osprey trainers and in-flight training provided at the company’s facility in Daleville, Ala.