The Ministry of Defence this week awarded a contract worth £275m to a consortium led by CAE of Canada for simulators to train aircrew for the RAF’s medium support helicopters.
Though the CAE consortium includes UK firms Vega and Serco and 75% of the money will be spent in the UK, the decision was a major disappointment to losing contender Crawley-based Thomson Training & Simulation.
The company had promised to create 324 jobs in Crawley and at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire where the simulators will be based. It is not yet clear how many jobs will be created by the CAE consortium.
The contract covers the capital value of simulators and their operation at the new greenfield site at Benson over 20 years. The simulators will be designed, built, financed and operated by CAE. The RAF will pay for training by the hour. The contract will be funded through the Private Finance Initiative.
CAE also beat off a bid from British Aerospace company, Reflectone of the US.