QinetiQ has agreed its first ever multi-year training contract on behalf of the Empire Test Pilots’ School (ETPS), in a five-year deal with the Royal Netherlands Air Force.
Under the £5.5m contract, signed in December 2017, ETPS will continue to train the Dutch force’s test pilots and flight test engineers until at least 2022.
Until now, all ETPS courses have been booked on a rolling annual basis, but new multi-year contract options have been made possible by the recent 11-year commitment within the Long Term Partnering Agreement (LTPA), under which QinetiQ manages ETPS in support of the UK Ministry of Defence.
ETPS is seeking to extend these long-term contract options to other customers, providing them with better value for money and guaranteeing security of supply.
Mr Nick Lay, Operations Director T&E and Training Transformation, QinetiQ, said:
“This commitment from the Royal Netherlands Air Force is a significant vote of confidence in the reinvigorated ETPS, and in QinetiQ’s strategy to modernise UK test aircrew training. The introduction of multi-year agreements raises exciting new possibilities for our customers, such as tailored courses, bespoke equipment and activities, and long-term cost savings. They provide extra certainty, which increases our ability to plan for future opportunities and accommodate customer requirements, giving a huge boost to the school’s commercial appeal.”
Dutch students on the 2018 course will be among the first to fly the school’s new aircraft, purchased in 2017 as part of a £85m drive to modernise the UK’s provision of test aircrew training. The new fleet comprises two Grob 120TP and two Pilatus PC-21 fixed wing aircraft, alongside four Airbus H125 helicopters. These aircraft will be complemented by new modular courses, featuring modern working environments, materials and teaching practices, including student-centred and distance learning. The school will continue to be led by military staff with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) being intrinsically involved in the running, supervision and oversight of courses.
Air Commodore Richard Laurijssen, Royal Netherlands Air Force, said:
“We have sent test pilots from the Netherlands to the ETPS since 1945. We consider the ETPS to be one of the leading test pilot schools in the world, and as such its training is accredited by the Netherlands’ Military Aviation Authority. We therefore appreciate the partnership and have confidence in a future together. Signing a multi-year training contract underlines this, and also ensures the continuation of this valued cooperation."