QinetiQ, Thales and Textron AirLand have collaborated to submit a bid for the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) upcoming air support to defence operational training (ASDOT) programme.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to this effect has been signed between the three companies.

Valued at around £1.2bn, the 15-year ASDOT contract will be awarded in September 2018 with a service delivery start in January 2020.

The operational training activities to perform the ASDOT programme are currently provided by a number of military and civilian providers.

The team will propose the use of Textron AirLand Scorpion jet fitted with Thales and QinetiQ sensors to provide a broad spectrum of training for all three armed services.

Textron AirLand’s Scorpion jet was selected by QinetiQ and Thales after an extensive analysis of more than 50 aircraft.

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The aircraft can be used in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, close air support, armed reconnaissance, maritime and border patrol and jet training missions.

Textron chairman and CEO Scott Donnelly said: “The Scorpion jet provides the multi-role capability and performance necessary to perform the ASDOT programme missions at a fraction of the acquisition and operating costs compared to any other aircraft in its class.

“Textron is confident this team will provide the platform and support necessary to carry out vital military training missions.

“We look forward to strengthening our relationship with these industry-leading companies as we compete for the ASDOT programme.”

As per the agreed terms, QinetiQ will take responsibility to maintain and provide pilots for a mixed fleet of Scorpion and other platforms, as well as introduction of synthetic operational training and airborne aerial target capabilities.

“Textron is confident this team will provide the platform and support necessary to carry out vital military training missions.”

It will carry out the integration of sensors and jamming pods into the aerial fleet and certification of the aircraft to ensure compliance with military air worthiness regulations.

Thales will provide training services for air platforms ranging from jet fighters, tactical transporters, helicopters and refuelling aircraft.

To date, Thales has delivered fully managed training services and training equipment such as full mission simulators for leading air platforms such as A400M, Voyager, Tornado, Rafale, Mirage 2000, Hawk and Eurofighter.

Thales will also offer a range of sensors optimised for situational awareness, threat replication and targeting training, as well as electronic warfare capability.

Image: Textron AirLand Scorpion. Photo: courtesy of tataquax.