February 22, 2017
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The UK's Air Support for Defence Operational Training (ASDOT) requirement took another turn this week when Inzpire and Discovery Air Defence Services announced that they are to bid jointly for the programme.
Inzpire and Discovery now join two other teams in the competition: consortia comprising Thales, QinetiQ and Textron AirLand; and CAE, Draken International and Babcock International.
ASDOT is designed to replace the live air training services that are used by the UK Ministry of Defence and currently supplied by Cobham with its Falcon 20 aircraft providing EW/ECM and target towing services and with fast-jet aggressor services provided by the Serco managed 736 Naval Air Squadron.
Surprisingly, the requirement excludes the RAF's live training capability provided by 100 Squadron and its Hawk T1s.
ASDOT is a major contract that is expected to be worth £1.2 billion over 15 years. Contract award is scheduled for September 2018 with service provision commencing in January 2020.
The latest team to declare its hand is undoubtedly a strong one. Inzpire is expert in team and collective training, and provides an independent exercise management team at the RAF's Air Battlespace Training Centre - the so-called White Force - as well as supplying expertise within the RAF's Air Warfare Centre through the management of large scale live training exercises.
The majority of its staff are former UK MOD aircrew and in addition to its expertise described above, the company also provides consultancy services and qualified flying instructors for a number of fixed- and rotary-wing requirements.
Discovery Air Defence Services, a subsidiary of Discovery Air Inc, provides turnkey air support training services through the provision of fast-jet and special mission aircraft equipped with a variety of radar, sensors, and targeting capabilities.
'After careful consideration of the customer's requirements, we are pleased to formalise our relationship with Discovery Air Defence. Their proven track record providing ASDOT equivalent services and excellent Flight Safety Record make them an ideal partner for this programme,' explained Hugh Griffiths, CEO of Inzpire Ltd.
Paul Bouchard, President of DA Defence, said that, 'as the world leader in contracted air combat training, Discovery Air Defence are very excited to join forces with the UK's Inzpire. The combined strengths of our two companies are uniquely suited to meet the ASDOT requirements and to serve the British Armed Forces' evolving live-fly, tactical training needs well into the mid-2030s.'
ASDOT is a major contract and will likely provide the eventual winning team with long term business opportunities outside the initial 15-year programme span. It is highly likely that the work currently undertaken by 100 Squadron will be subsumed into the programme at a later date when the Hawk T1 retires.
As to other bidders for the programme, Shephard expects ATAC, part of Textron Airborne Solutions, to announce its participation shortly. The question is, who will be part of the ATAC team?