UK Defence Equipment & Support has procured a complete flight simulator system to prepare the Royal Air Force for its future Shadow Mk2 intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance fleet.
The platform is part of an 11.5-million pound ($14 million) contract awarded to Raytheon in 2021. Delivery is expected in late 2024.
“The provision of a new synthetic training facility represents a further enhancement to the Programme of Record that will deliver an exceptionally capable ISR asset to defense,” Shadow Program Manager Air Commodore. Alex Hicks stated.
“This is an exciting time for the program as we prepare to accept delivery of our first Shadow Mk2 aircraft in 2024.”
Called the King Air 350, the simulator enables British pilots and aircrews to practice for Shadow aircraft domestically instead of being deployed overseas for training.
The approach is expected to minimize the Royal Air Force’s carbon footprint and decrease annual training costs by up to 200,000 pounds ($243,096).
Shadow R1 surveillance aircraft. Photo:: 2021 Royal Air Force/UK Crown Copyright
“We are delighted to be providing the RAF with a UK-based solution which will be the first King Air 350 simulator in Europe,” UK Defence Equipment & Support Air Support Director Richard Murray said.
“Not only does this capability provide essential synthetic training for our military it offers financial, environmental and social value benefits to Defence and the UK.”
The King Air 350 simulator procurement follows the success of a critical design review for the future Shadow fleet.
Awarded under a $149-million contract in 2021, the program seeks to expand the intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance planes from six to eight and integrate advanced capabilities for the evolving airspace.
The Shadow fleet is operated by 14 Squadron at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.