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19 October 2018
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27 October 2017 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal

Serco has been awarded an eight-year extension to its contract with simulation technology specialist CAE to deliver helicopter pilot training and carry out FM services for the Medium Support Helicopter Aircrew Training Facility (MSHATF) at RAF Benson.


The state-of-the-art simulated training facility is used to train Royal Air Force and Royal Navy helicopter aircrew, as well as pilots from other NATO nations and allies.


Serco has worked in partnership with CAE at MSHATF at RAF Benson since the facility opened in October 1997, and the extension will see the deal continue until at least October 2025. The new deal is estimated to be worth £26 million over its eight-year term, and it involves options for a further extension to 2037.


Serco’s expert team of ex-military helicopter instructors deliver training using MSHATF’s six CAE simulators configured for the Chinook (Mk 4 and Mk6a), Merlin (Mk 3) and Puma (Mk 2) helicopters, as well as the facility’s Tactical Control Centre (TCC). The TCC can be used with the simulators connected together to recreate complex operational sorties in real-world environments involving multiple helicopters.


Serco’s instructors also provide full ground school training for each helicopter at all levels, covering everything from basic aircraft systems such as fuel and electrics to advanced avionics and self-protection systems.


In total the facility has delivered over 10,000 hours of aircrew training a year ranging from conversion to type to continuation, operational and pre-deployment training for experienced crews.


Serco also manages the maintenance of the MSHATF building through its team of building engineers, as well as providing the facility’s cleaning, reception and security services. 


Paul McCarter, managing director of Serco’s defence business, said: “Training the RAF and Royal Navy’s brave helicopter pilots is a huge responsibility and honour, and we are determined to continue delivering the highest standard of service.”