QinetiQ, on behalf of the Empire Test Pilots’ School (ETPS), has secured a new five-year contract from the Royal Netherlands Air Force to train test pilots and flight test engineers until at least 2022.

Before the signing of the new contract, all ETPS courses were booked on a rolling annual basis.

The £5.5m multi-year contract is a result of 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.

Royal Netherlands Air Force air commodore Richard Laurijssen 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.”

The Dutch students will train on the new fleet comprising two Grob 120TP and two Pilatus PC-21 fixed-wing aircraft, alongside four Airbus H125 helicopters.

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“They provide extra certainty, which increases our ability to plan for future opportunities and accommodate customer requirements.”

These aircraft were purchased last year as part of an £85m modernisation programme.

QinetiQ Test and Evaluation and Training Transformation operations director Nick Lay said: “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.”

The ETPS will continue to be led by military staff while the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) will be intrinsically involved in the running, supervision and oversight of courses.