The UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF) has awarded VT Group a contract to provide support service to the air force’s fleet of Tucano training aircraft.

Under the £35m (US$55m) four-year contract, VT will deliver between 12,000 and 14,500 hours of flying training every year for the RAF’s 50 Tucano aircraft.

VT will perform the work at RAF’s Linton-on-Ouse base in North Yorkshire where Tucanos are used to train fast jet pilots in preparation for flying the Hawk fast jet trainer.

VT has been providing engineering support and maintenance, flight line services and logistics to the RAF’s Tucano fleet since its inception in the air force.

The RAF uses the Tucano aircraft for general aircraft handling, formation flying and low-level navigation.

Powered by Garrett TPE331-12B turboprop engines, the Tucano aircraft has a maximum speed of 300 knots and a maximum altitude of 30,000ft.

VT will begin service delivery in April 2010.