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New RAF flight simulator will save taxpayer 26pc; BUSINESS BRITAIN.

THE Ministry of Defence has unveiled a pounds 55m privately financed training simulator for RAF early-warning radar planes.

The facility, based at RAF Waddington, near Lincoln, has been developed to provide training for flight crews of the Sentry E-3D Awacs aircraft.

The deal, with flight training company Quest, is a Private Finance Initiative which will be spread over the next 30 years.

As well as RAF pilots, the simulator will also be used by French crews. The UK currently operates seven E-3D aircraft and France has four.

The Awacs plane, based on a civilian Boeing 707 airliner, is used to provide early warning and airborne fighter control.

Project manager Group Captain Vince Smith said, "This deal is a very cost-effective way of training our pilots for this important role.

"Over the 30-year life of the contract we will certainly save a considerable amount of money."

The simulator allows flight crews to fly to any point on the globe and carry out training missions.

Defence procurement minister Lord Bach said, "We estimate that by using PFI we have saved the taxpayer approximately 29pc of the cost of a conventionally procured MoDowned training service.

"The system will allow our aircrews to simulate flying around the world in both day and night conditions, helping pilots, navigators and flight engineers maintain and update their skills."
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 14, 2001
Words:221
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