The US Air Force in Europe (USAFE) has signed a 5-year deal with QinetiQ to use the company’s training facilities in the UK. The agreement will see the USAFE using the British Ministry of Defence (MOD) ranges run by the defense contractor to train their F-15E and F-35 pilots.
The contract, worth up to $27 million, will be utilised by the 48th Fighter Wing from RAF Lakenheath, 31st Fighter Wing from Aviano Air Base in Italy and the 52nd Fighter Wing from Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany.
QinetiQ took over the British government’s military testing facilities and training ranges at MOD Aberporth Range and the MOD Hebrides Range under the LTPA (Long Term Partnering Agreement), which has seen the company upgrading the facilities to accommodate new weapon systems such as the F-35. Steve Wadey, Chief Executive at QinetiQ, said:
“The award of this contract demonstrates how QinetiQ is enabling international defence forces to benefit from the world-class facilities we have to offer in the UK, by attracting new international customers through the successful modernisation of the UK ranges through the LTPA contract. It also validates our vision to be the chosen partner around the world for mission critical solutions, and innovating for our customer’s advantage by meeting the mission and requirements of major military forces globally.”
According to QinetiQ, the training that the aircrews will have available to them from using their ranges will ensure that their operational readiness will be maintained at a very high level. It will include air-to-ground weapon launches and air–to-air engagements following various training doctrines against a variety of challenging and realistic surface and airborne targets. The programme will also open the door for new weapons to be released in the UK for the first time.