The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is seeking a new contractor to operate its helicopter training organisation to replace the existing ageing fleet of 34 AS350 B3 Squirrel HT1 trainers from Airbus Helicopters.
The latest bidding under the new Rotary Wing Training Programme (RWTP) would replace the old Defence Helicopter Flying School (DHFS) outsourcing contract, which has been running since 1997.
Details of the request for proposals (RPS) have not been disclosed, though Desider magazine noted that six firms are bidding on the $322m programme, which is set to commence service from 2018.
The report also noted that the flight training will be "supported by a complementary range of ground-based equipment", which will be based at RAF Shawbury in Shropshire, according to Flightglobal.
A joint-venture (JV) between Ascent, the Babcock and Lockheed Martin will be responsible for delivering training as part of the Military Flying Training System (MFTS) programme.
The report noted that AgustaWestland would turn out to be the main competitor to Airbus for the procurement, which noted that it has "supplied data" on a number of its helicopters to interested parties, even though it will not bid itself.
However, the rotorcraft proposed by the Anglo-Italian firm renains undisclosed.