The U.K. Ministry of Defense is investing approximately $340.9 million in state-of-the-art training facilities for A400M Atlas aircraft Royal Air Force pilots and crew.
The 18-year contract with A400M Training Services Ltd— a joint venture between Airbus Military (EADS) and Thales Training and Simulation Ltd–will create and secure up to 300 long-term jobs, including at RAF Brize Norton, home of the new transport jets.
At the same time, MoD said it is spending about $120.6 million on defensive aids for the A400M. The contract is for the development, manufacture and installation of the modifications required to the aircraft so that it can operate the large aircraft infrared countermeasures defensive aids system when flying in hostile environments.
The new training facilities will house two full flight simulators to train RAF pilots, a specialist workstation to train loadmasters, a cockpit simulator to train engineers and a suite of computer-based training equipment, the ministry said in a statement recently.
The facility is expected to allow all personnel who operate, support and maintain the aircraft to train in a replica environment, giving them the best and safest learning experience available.
The MoD is buying 22 A400M Atlas transport aircraft to replace the RAF’s fleet of C-130 Hercules, with the first aircraft entering service in late 2014.
Able to carry twice as much as the Hercules, the A400M Atlas can transport 32 tons of cargo over a range of 4,500 kilometers, providing unprecedented capability to support the U.K. armed forces.