The British Royal Air Force (RAF) has performed the maiden flight of the Texan T1 training aircraft at RAF Valley base in Wales.
Set to replace the Tucano in the fast jet training programme, the Texan T1 aircraft is part of the government’s £1.2bn investment into fixed-wing aircraft training under the Military Flight Training System (MFTS) to train and prepare junior pilots for the frontline.
The aircraft can simulate missions in both fourth and fifth-generation aircraft such as the F35 Lightning II and Typhoon fast jets.
UK Defence Procurement Minister Stuart Andrew said: “It’s crucial that our fighter pilots of the future train on the very best equipment before reaching the front line to protect UK airspace at home and defend our interests abroad.
“The introduction of the Texan T1 into one of Nato’s most advanced Fighter Pilot training programmes demonstrates the RAF’s commitment to investing in world-leading technology to maintain a military advantage over our adversaries.”
Junior pilots will start training with the Prefect aircraft before moving to the Texan T1. The training programme will conclude with the Hawk T2.
RAF Valley Texan Integration Squadron commanding officer wing commander Chris Ball said: “Under the Military Flying Training System, fighter pilots will train on world-leading aircraft. They start on the Prefect, move on to the Texan and finish on the Hawk T2, making the training process more efficient and far more representative of the aircraft types they will eventually fly.
“The Texan is the ideal lead-in trainer to the Hawk T2 advanced jet trainer that they will fly here at Valley.”
The UK MFTS is designed to offer a modern and streamlined flight training solution for the RAF, British Royal Navy and British Army Air Corps.