The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has announced the procurement of a full-flight simulator system to support pilot training on the upgraded Shadow Mk2 aircraft.

The simulator system is being provided by Raytheon UK as part of a £11.5m contract awarded by the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) procurement arm Defence Equipment & Support.

The new training system, also referred as King Air 350 simulator, will provide in-country training to the RAF pilots and aircrews for Shadow Mk2 aircraft.

It will eliminate the need of sending RAF personnel overseas to learn how to operate Shadow fleet.

The new capability will eventually minimise the MoD’s carbon footprint and save up to £200,000 of annual spending in efficiencies.

Expected to enter in service with RAF by late 2024, the new King Air 350 will help the country’s intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, reconnaissance (ISTAR) Force to undertake operations across the globe.

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The latest announcement comes in parallel with the completion of critical design review (CDR) for the RAF Shadow Mk2 surveillance aircraft and validates the baseline configuration and equipment fit of Mk2 aircraft.

Raytheon UK is already under a £110m contract, awarded in 2021, to expand the existing fleet of six Shadow Mk1 aircraft to eight, and upgrade the platform to Mk2 configuration that also features the latest UK Sovereign Defensive Aids Systems.

Currently, the work is moving as per the schedule, with delivery of the first three Mk2 aircraft expected in 2024.

RAF Shadow senior responsible owner air commodore Hicks said: “The provision of a new synthetic training facility represents a further enhancement to the Programme of Record that will deliver an exceptionally capable ISR asset to the Defence.”

RAF’s Shadow fleet is based at RAF Waddington and is operated by 14 Squadron.