Magazine article National Defense

Canada Promotes New, State-of-the-Art Flight-Training Facility for NATO Pilots

Magazine article National Defense

Canada Promotes New, State-of-the-Art Flight-Training Facility for NATO Pilots

Article excerpt

Canada's minister of national defense, Art Eggleton last month announced the official opening of the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) program, which is designed to train NATO pilots.

Denmark, Great Britain, Singapore and Italy have already committed to the program and are set to start training alongside Canadian Air Force pilots in an undergraduate and postgraduate military pilot-training program.

Foreign participation in NFTC to date amounts to more than $800 million worth of long-term commitments, said the Canadian government. "With new advanced training aircraft, state-of the-art facilities and over 700,000 square kilometers of flying training airspace, NFTC is a world-class program that Canada is proud to offer to NATO and our other allies," said Eggleton.

The NFTC attempts to offer a solution to the rising costs of military pilot training, at a time when both Canada and NATO are looking for lower-cost alternatives to meet an anticipated demand for trained pilots in the next several decades.

The program is based on a partnership between the government of Canada and industry. The industry team is led by Bombardier Inc., and includes BAE Systems, Raytheon Aircraft Company, CAE Electronics of Montreal, ATCO Frontec Corporation of Edmonton, SERCO Aviation Services Inc. and ARAMARK Canada Ltd of Toronto.

The contractors will be expected to provide fully-serviced aircraft, training material, flight simulators, and airfield and site-support services.

ATCO Frontec provides airport operations and maintenance services including emergency response, security, transportation and facilities maintenance.

Serco provides Bombardier's Canadian Aviation Training Centre with air traffic control, aviation weather observation briefings, and the operation and maintenance of aeronautical communications and navigation/landing aids.

Field Aviation Company Inc. provides maintenance, logistics and engineering services to Bombardier's Canadian Aviation Training Centre at Southport.

ARAMARK Canada provides food and custodial services for the 300 students at the Canadian Aviation Training Centre.

Industry involvement in the NFTC program will result in almost $1 billion in direct industrial benefits for Canada, including more than 5,600 person-years of employment, predominantly in Western Canada and primarily in high-technology industries.

The NFTC industry team has spent more than $204 million in renovations and new facilities and has hired about 200 workers. It also has started to build a $12 million facility in Cold Lake, Alberta, where a portion of the flying training will take place next year.

Eggleton also announced that the Italian Air Force intends to send three students per year for the whole program during the next 20 years, an agreement that will be worth upwards of $110 million over that period.

"Canadian pilots have been working with and flying alongside their Italian counterparts in Aviano, Italy, for a good while now Italy's participation in the NFTC will afford both nations the opportunity to further build on a long-standing relationship," said Eggleton.

Currently, 141 Canadians and nine foreign students are scheduled to train annually in Phase II, using Raytheon Aircraft Co. …

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