The UK military’s new basic training aircraft is now one step closer to flying its first student pilots, officials have announced.
The aircraft concerned – the Grob 120TP – has achieved Military Release to Service. This means it won’t be long at all before the type begins being used operationally.
The Grob 120TP release to service announcement was made by Affinity Flying Training Services. It’s through Affinity that the 120T, plus two other new-generation training aircraft, are joining the UKMFTS programme.
The UKMFTS (UK Military Flying Training System) starts with initial training, then takes military aircrew through the Elementary, Basic and Advanced stages. This readies them to then join an Operational Conversion Unit and, thereafter, a frontline squadron.
Affinity is tasked with supplying and maintaining UKMFTS’s Fixed-Wing elements. Besides the Grob 120TP, these also comprise the Beechcraft T-6C Texan II and Embraer Phenom 100 designs. This trio made its first combined public appearance at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT), held earlier this month.
To be named ‘Prefect’ in UK military service, the Grob 120TP is a state-of-the-art turboprop aircraft that features a fibreglass-reinforced plastic fuselage and wings made of carbon fibre composite.
The aircraft is manufactured in Germany but incorporates Israeli firm Elbit’s avionics suite. Martin-Baker – a longstanding British manufacturer – provides the type’s MB17 ejection seats.
Powered by a Rolls-Royce M250-B17F turboprop engine that generates 456 horsepower, the Prefect has a top speed of 282 miles per hour, a maximum range of 846 miles and an operating ceiling of 25,000 feet. Its G-limits are plus-six and minus-four.
23 examples are joining the UKMFTS. The students that handle their controls will be instructed in flight principles, emergency management, aerobatics and formation flying.
Grob 120TP Service
Affinity Flying Training Services Managing Director, Iain Chalmers, called the Grob 120TP’s Military Release to Service achievement “a significant milestone” that “marks the start of the service provision by Affinity to the UK Military Flying Training System programme.”
“We are very excited to be supporting Ascent and the MoD in the training of our military aircrew”, Chalmers added. “This fantastic aircraft offers a step change in elementary flying training capability which incorporates the latest digital glass cockpit technology – a great first step on the ladder for all our future pilots.”
Main Grob 120TP image copyright/courtesy Paul Fiddian
Grob 120TP cockpit image by Grob Aircraft AG – courtesy Wikimedia Commons. Used as per Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license