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January 15, 2015

Strat Aero signs agreement to establish first UAV pilot base in Netherlands

Strat Aero has signed a letter of intent (LoI) with the Netherlands Government to establish an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) training facility in the country.

Reaper

Strat Aero has signed a letter of intent (LOI ) with the Netherlands Government to establish an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) training facility in the country.

The LOI was signed with the economic development agency for the Dutch region of West Holland, Innovation Quarter. It sets out the capacity requirements for the training facility, a location for which would be provided by the government.

The facility is claimed to be Northern Europe’s first UAV pilot training base. It is expected to include an 8,000ft runway enabling full operational civilian and military training on large fixed wing and multi rotor unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

Strat Aero chief executive officer captain Russell Peck said: "With the number of commercial and military applications for UAVs forecast to increase significantly in the years ahead, the need to ensure operators are trained to the highest standards is paramount.

"Thanks to our established reputation and early mover status in the sector, Strat Aero is well placed to capitalise on this huge opportunity and in the process become the go-to provider of bespoke UAV training and solutions."

"With the number of commercial and military applications for UAVs forecast to increase significantly in the years ahead, the need to ensure operators are trained to the highest standards is paramount."

The facility will have hanger capacity for six SandShark UAV training aircraft, as well as two military operational fixed wing UAVs, namely MQ-1 Predator and one MQ-9 Reaper.

In particular, the facility will provide Sandshark training, which is designed to simulate Predator and Reaper platforms, as well as light multi-rotor UAV training for commercial pilots.

As a multinational resource for all European Union member states, the centre’s research and development and training infrastructure and services would be available to universities and civilian organisations.

Strat Aero plans to invest in the establishment of the training facility through the provision of ground-based equipment, training materials, management personnel, and the training aircraft.

The company is set to submit suggestions to the government and inspect the proposed site this month. It expects to advance to a binding contractual phase during the first quarter of this year, subject to successful completion of the meetings.


Image: The Dutch UAV training facility would have hanger capacity for one MQ-9 Reaper aircraft. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo / Staff Sgt Brian Ferguson.

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