Finland’s Defence Ministry announced that Defence Minister Jussi Niinisto has authorised the acquisition of 28 second-hand Grob G115E elementary and basic flying training aircraft from Babcock International in the UK. In addition to the aircraft, the purchase will include all necessary training on the type.
The Grobs will be modernised after delivery with new navigation systems, cockpit displays and radios. Total value of the contract will be approximately EUR6.06 million, excluding the upgrade work. Deliveries are scheduled to take place in 2016 and 2017.
They will replace the current elementary and basic flight training provided by Patria Aviation using the Valmet L-70 Vinka with the Finnish Air Force’s Hävittäjälentolaivue 41 (Fighter Squadron 41) at Tikkakoski. Negotiations on the organisation of a flight training service and maintenance of the new aircraft are still in progress.
Babcock currently provides a fleet of 119 G115Es, designated as the Tutor T1, for the UK Ministry of Defence’s Light Aircraft Flying Task, undertaking pilot grading, basic and elementary flying training for the Army and Royal Navy, plus air experience flying for University Air Squadrons and Air Cadet organisations. The company owns the aircraft and provides flying instructors, logistical support, fleet management and aircraft maintenance.
As previously reported on AFD, under the UK MOD’s Military Flying Training System contract, 23 Grob G120TP Prefects are being acquired to conduct elementary flying training at two Lincolnshire bases, RAF Barkston Heath and Cranwell. Delivery of these new aircraft will thus free up G115Es for delivery to Finland