According to a contract tendering notice, the Ministry of Defence is looking to lease UK based light aircraft for the delivery of Military Parachute Training.

The value of the contract is £4,200,000 and is for a minimum of two aircraft to deliver 430 flight hours of Military Parachute Training.

The notice reads as follows:

“Provision of a 2 year contract from 1 Aug 2022 until the 31st of July 2024 for suitable contracted aircraft and mobile Fire and Crash Cover support services to enable Air Command 2 Group to deliver Military Parachute Training.”

The requirements as set out are as follows:

“Via a single contract from 1 Aug 2022, light aircraft (ac) and associated support enablers to deliver Military Parachute Training (MPT).

Light ac capable of meeting extant Release-to-Service (RTS) requirements for the despatch of military Static Line (SL) deployed and Freefall (FF) manually deployed parachutes, detailed in the Compendium of Airborne Equipment Release Certificates (CAERC) and confirmed by Trials & Evaluation (T&E) undertaken by the Joint Aerial Delivery Test and Evaluation Unit Parachute Test Team (JADTEU PTT).

Sufficient flying hours (FHs) to enable light ac provision fit-to-meet demand from 1 Aug 2022. Sufficient Fire and Crash Cover (FCC) hours to compensate for the absence of embedded FCC fit-to-meet demand from 1 Aug 2022. A minimum number of ac (2) to deliver MPT adapting interoperability from a single ac type.”

The contract duration will be 1 core year plus a one-year option.

What are the requirements for the aircraft you ask? Good question.

According to the specification, aircraft are to be fitted with:

  • Parachute jump lights (switchable between red / green and vice versa) to enable jump command. The ability to cover 75% of these lights is also required.
  • An Altimeter.
  • Cable Shears.
  • A bulkhead black out curtain.
  • Red filters on internal lights.
  • Fixed bench seating.

A full communication suite enabling ground-to-air and internal pilot / despatcher communication as follows:

o      Twin VHF radio
o      VOR / DME
o      Transponder (including Mode S as and when required by EASA).

  • TCAS in accordance with MAA regulations.
  • GPS.
  • Camera mounts to enable the fitting of cameras for digital recording of parachute exits from the ac.
  • SL anchor cable and a second anchor cable to secure parachute despatchers depending on Ac type.

 

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Challenger
Challenger
5 days ago

Is this a move to save the A400m fleet for other tasks?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 days ago
Reply to  Challenger

Skyvans are already used for 1 PTS – Brize Norton, with Weston on the Green often used as a DZ.

I’d have thought even more specialised free fall work with Pathfinder Platoon and SF would still require an A400 / Herc type, with ramp, for “bundles” if they have not moved all of it to southern France or California.

Airborne
Airborne
5 days ago

Spot on mate, Sky Van is good for basic jumps and continuation lobs. What is needed is a slightly larger airframe with a ramp to do wedges and tailgating, to include boats, and even door bundles.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
4 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

How about a couple of C130J’s or is that too complicated for the MOD?

Marc witten
Marc witten
3 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

Hercules it what it was designed for

Mark B
Mark B
5 days ago
Reply to  Challenger

A move to save money, flying hours, etc. I would say. You don’t have to do everything in-house.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

Been going on for years anyway with Short Skyvans since the balloons went. This is not new.

Airborne
Airborne
5 days ago

Sky vanwas fun, balloon was eery and quiet! Both were fun after you got the first jump out of the way. By the afternoon most blokes have done 1 or 2 then slope off. Then lots of chutes left for the loones who wanted to do 5 or 6 lobs. Balloon used to be on Hankley common and even queen’s Ave in Aldershot. Sky van was fun, down at South Cerney for the day. Fun days as opposed to Brigade lobs from the Hercs, 80 blokes rammed in for 5 hours, low level, piss and puke, jammed in with kit… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

When I saw the article I knew we’d get some details from you mate. Cheers. 😀

Airborne
Airborne
4 days ago

Lol am I that predictable mate…..An opportunity to waffle which cannot be missed!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

And why should it? Many here, including me, are all ears. You have earned the right to waffle.

Airborne
Airborne
4 days ago

Mate seems reply to Steven Alfred lower down….lol…another opportunity to waffle.

Airborne
Airborne
2 days ago

You are far to kind mate, as it never really felt like a job! 👍 just an adventure with some great blokes!

Iain Anderson
Iain Anderson
3 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

I remember my training after I joined the RM. That sort of training with Skyvans is OK, I would still need to go from regular military Hercs etc for the equipped jumps. You need to be jumping regularly to be used to fizzing out of different Airframes.

Airborne
Airborne
2 days ago
Reply to  Iain Anderson

Depends, as the reason the Sky van is used is for continuation lobs, where the skills and drills of exit, all round observation, lowering kit, “steer” away, blah blah then landing. That’s 90% of the requirement. The rest is specific to exercise, be it a Bde lob with x amount of airframes with door bundles, wedges and heavy drop. Unless we are talking AFF either HALO or HAHO or tailgate static line water jumps, the rest is just enduring being arsed about with airhead mounting, getting the MSPs rigged and suffering a shit load of low level, it’s easily achieved… Read more »

Dick Didoe
Dick Didoe
3 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

When I was based in Canterbury in the late 90s we used to the get the Skyvan to fly down and we took off and jumped into Manston. It was odd flying over Margate before lobbing out!

Johan
Johan
5 days ago
Reply to  Challenger

A400m would only drop a full company, this is more training around the 10 to 16 number mark.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
5 days ago
Reply to  Johan

Exactly.

Qualification and refresher training.

Doesn’t need an A400.

Historically a sorts of aircraft were used at Brize for this.

Harry Nelson
Harry Nelson
5 days ago

Need to by myself a couple of used C130s, few miles on the clock, bodywork in good nick… Job’s a “good’ne”.😉

David Steeper
David Steeper
5 days ago
Reply to  Harry Nelson

I know a bloke who knows a bloke who can see you right. 😉

Johan
Johan
5 days ago
Reply to  Harry Nelson

Ok good for full load, but this is training 10-12 men @ a time. you will lose money on your operational running hours.

Harry Nelson
Harry Nelson
4 days ago
Reply to  Johan

But I’m buying second hand 🤔😉😂

John
John
4 days ago
Reply to  Harry Nelson

I have fire extinguisher and a landrover …..

Tommo
Tommo
4 days ago
Reply to  John

Land rover and an unfurled chute for a bit of Parascending

Harry Nelson
Harry Nelson
4 days ago
Reply to  John

You’re in….

Tams
Tams
4 days ago
Reply to  Harry Nelson

Why would they waste so many resources on those for just some qualification and qualification maintenance jumps?

You C130 advocates/armchair procurement officers are always so loopy.

Iain Anderson
Iain Anderson
3 days ago
Reply to  Tams

Due to the varied jobs I used to go on, we needed to regularly jump and Skyvans couldn’t give realistic training for needs.

Geoffi
Geoffi
5 days ago

What a Fred-in-the-Shed approach..

Farouk
Farouk
5 days ago

As somebody who has never felt the urge to jump out of a perfectly sound aircraft, what winged vehicle have we used these past 30 years for such endeavours?

FenTiger
FenTiger
5 days ago
Reply to  Farouk

Hastings?

Harry B
Harry B
5 days ago
Reply to  Farouk

30 years? pretty much solely C130 and C17 in the last 15 or so for actual operational use. Skyvans have also been used on a lease system, the RAF Falcons use a Dornier 228, and the BOB flights C47 is cleared for jumps.

Johan
Johan
5 days ago

Been Bounced around for a while, MOD is cutting all its training assets that are long in the tooth and of low numbers, their maintenance is too expensive.

with the lack of Aircraft of this type, you’re Looking for an Airbus defense option. some Skyvan’s used currently, but Contract length would lead you to using existing rather than new.

Matt C
Matt C
5 days ago

How to cut costs without saying “we’re cutting costs”

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but must be recognised for what it is, for better and worse.

Steven Alfred Rake
Steven Alfred Rake
5 days ago

I would have thought that this money would be better spent by putting it towards a Nato central jump school so that all Nato members could use the facility and aircraft to keep their respective Parachute trained personnel up to speed with all of the aircraft they are likely to jump from held in a central point or rotated through individual countries who have that existing ability to train Paras, this would keep it 100% military and not reliant on civilian companies who may be good but do not have the same agendas as a military establishment.

grizzler
grizzler
5 days ago

Yep – I was thinking exactly the same thing…too logical I reckon.

Steven Alfred Rake
Steven Alfred Rake
5 days ago
Reply to  grizzler

I wonder what will happen when the guys can’t get their 6 jumps in to keep their para pay. It might really kick off then!!

Airborne
Airborne
5 days ago

Already lads are struggling to both get continuation lobs in and get on basic jumps course. Quite a few penguins in Nattalion cutting g about waiting for a jumps course. Was 9 lobs in a 4 week course, and for the last 15 years it’s a case of doing a week’s ground training, going back to unit and be on call if and when the RAF get a C130 available. But if blokes cannot get the required jumps in, once qualified they don’t stop para pay mate.

Airborne
Airborne
4 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

Nattalion……bloody hell…….Battalion.

Robert Warner
Robert Warner
16 hours ago

A NATO parachute training center needs to be in a location with consistently dry weather and few clouds. The Canadian Army used to train on the prairies because they had far more clear days than anywhere else in Canada. The US military does much of their freefall training in Yuma, Arizona, a ridiculously dry place. Is any where in Spain consistently clear enough to routinely train parachutists?

Steven Alfred Rake
Steven Alfred Rake
17 seconds ago
Reply to  Robert Warner

Hello Robert, dry, big DZ’s are good for basic and getting guys up to speed but they also have to jump on small DZ’s and inclement weather with the wind pushing on the safety margins, South of France is good as there are a lot of big DZ’s and quite a few wee ones. I am sure if the guys at the top of the tree in Nato put their collective heads together they could come up with a way of centralising the parachute training for all Nato members keeping it 100% in the military. This would also help bring… Read more »

Matt
Matt
5 days ago

Omigod it must have an altimeter 😮

Jon
Jon
5 days ago
Reply to  Matt

And not only must the lights be switchable between red and green, they also have to be switchable between green and red. Gold plating if you ask me.

Tommo
Tommo
4 days ago
Reply to  Jon

If the lights can do R+G then G+R surely that will be twice the price of just 1 light going R+G or G+R money too waste Jon

Marked
Marked
5 days ago
Reply to  Matt

That comes at the cost of it being fitted for but not with an air speed indicator though…

John Hartley
John Hartley
5 days ago

Last I heard, there were 2x C295 ex Jordanian, parked in Spain & up for sale cheap.

Johan
Johan
3 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

More than 2, and a little bird C295 does offer something, lot of other countries use them for Cargo/para roles. £PM is cheaper than a C130 which the RAF wants to drop.

A&Daccountant
A&Daccountant
5 days ago

Altimeter AND a radio! they don’t ask for much do they?

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
5 days ago

Would think there may be lots of cheap aircraft sitting around with the effect of aviation caused by covid.
Rent to the army in the Morning and thrill seekers in the afternoon. Job done.

Steven Alfred Rake
Steven Alfred Rake
4 days ago

We like to take the piss out of the French but they have more Para Regiments than we have Para Battalions and they have to keep there jumps up (at lest 6/year) or they lose their para pay most are based near a runway and have a local DZ they regularly jump with all support equipment (mortars, 12.7 MG, AT weapons) which you cannot do in a sky van . To be kept operational you have to know how to react with 60 odd people in the air at the same time with all their equipment some thing you will… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
4 days ago

True and not true mate. The Sky van is good enough to do clean fatigue lobs and equipment, and are adequate for continuation, as its all about the exit, drills in the sky and the landing. Lobbing with heavy kit, on a Bde jump, is more realistic yes, but the effect is the same. You carry heavy kit, suffer a few hours low level, can’t move, lads puking and even pissing, then hook up, kneel down as kit so heavy then when red on, drag your arse off your knees and just about fall out of the door. The end… Read more »

klonkie
klonkie
3 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

Fascinating stuff Airborne -thanks for posting!

Airborne
Airborne
2 days ago
Reply to  klonkie

I have a habit of boring people Klonkie 😂 👍!

Steven Alfred Rake
Steven Alfred Rake
3 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

I agree but if you are going to keep the guys up to speed with military jumping then you have to get use the the Piss and Spew and your kit cutting through your shoulders and the pure adrenalin that gets you out of the doors, as when it is done for real there is only one chance to get it right as you rightly said the drop time is cut in half so if you cannot sort yourself out in the air on a practice jump you will have no chance on a real jump. I just feel that… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
2 days ago

Correct to a degree again mate as everyone should get the experience of a big, shitty Bde lob, and all the work that goes into it. But as I’ve alluded to before the jump is a means to an end, and on a static lob, even with 800 blokes in the air, the vast majority will get down in one piece able to crack on with the real mission and task. Anyway in regard to the story in hand it’s probably more to do with a larger airframe being leased with the possibility of bigger sticks than the sky van… Read more »

Steven Alfred Rake
Steven Alfred Rake
2 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

It just seems to me, the more we out source the training to the civilian sector the less real training gets done, we are supposedly training our guys to overcome and adapt but mostly to kill if needed, but all they seem to be getting now is how to be PC and nice, which fits right in if you are joining the Salvation army but if you are going to be expected to live in a slit trench and kick the living delights out of the opposition PC and nice will not cut it.

Airborne
Airborne
2 days ago

And this is where I agree 100%! While modern soldering and training needs to be constructive not destructive, at the end of the day we are required to use extreme violence and controlled aggression against another person and organisation, to achieve a suitable end state…..and in training for that we need to be careful we don’t go to PC, as we still require people of violence to do the messy stuff!

Johan
Johan
3 days ago

Its for training and replaced the Ballons. Sky vans been used since the demise of the Britten-Norman Trislander. its just re-signing an existing deal but they want there cake and eat it

Steven Alfred Rake
Steven Alfred Rake
3 days ago
Reply to  Johan

Having a civvie company take control of training in any form should be a non starter as they handcuff by the fact they need to cover there arses with things like insurance so a lot what the military call acceptable losses would be cut out and you will end up with people who know how to jump but have zero military jumping experiance which puts then in danger when the shit hits the fan, the training has to be kept as realistic as possible and the only way is to keep it in the military.

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
4 days ago

Another dodgy shady example of tory capitalism. Outsourcing and sub contracting in 90% of cases, always costs more. What are these creatures doing with taxpayers money?

Skyvans have been used for years to do this, along with other methods (I still remember tethered ‘blimp’ drops from 800 feet). It says £4.2m but will end up much much more.

Steven Alfred Rake
Steven Alfred Rake
4 days ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

I think the chinses spy that has been advising the Labour party is also doing a few extra hours for the MoD

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
4 days ago

Huh??

Airborne
Airborne
4 days ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

The RAF gravy train of the team operating the “blimp” aka balloon, was the reason it got chinned off Tom. Very expensive to man and operate and the Sky Van costs were considerably cheaper, although it was a different type of “bottler” jump, (and the kudos of having done the ballon jumps to the newbies who never did it) the skills and drills are the same using Sky Van. In fact the Sky Van days out down to South Cerney were fun, guys loved and it did wonders for moral and your jump record card lol, cheers.

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
3 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

Steady on now … you almost had me welling up for the good old days. Actually they were good, very good 🙂

Airborne
Airborne
2 days ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

Very good days, but I’m sure the lads of today will be saying the same thing in 25 years…….I hope!

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
2 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

I do hope so too however, my son is in the Guards, and the number of young fellas who chuck it in after 4 years is crazy.

Airborne
Airborne
2 days ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

Good for him and let’s hope so!

Daveyb
Daveyb
3 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

I dunno, jumping through the hole in floor always felt wrong. Stepping out of a door or ramp wasn’t as bad. Strange as the end result was the same2 seconds of panic to check the chute had deployed properly and you weren’t twisted. About 30 seconds of peaceful calm taking in the sights, then 10 seconds of panic again as you got ground rush. Must have been mad, as I always wanted another go!

Just checking the number of military aircraft I willingly jump out of, is 16 or 17 if you include the UK’s Skyvans.

Airborne
Airborne
2 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Static line, AFF, tailgate static line squares, HALO, bit of HAHO with a broken GPS…..(another long boring story 😂), no matter, always had an element of bum tweekery involved, and if not then you were over confident and up for a possible fall 🤪! Lots of airframes in my log book mate, from many countries and received quite a few sets of foreign wings, the rarer the better as it become a bit of a challenge and a competition (more opportunities to do so in the 90s than 2000 onwards) lol had my SA wings in early 90s, not many… Read more »

Daveyb
Daveyb
2 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

To be honest have done static line in years. Never did the jump of shame with a map of Africa down the front. Though those blue spew bags were handy for more than just vom, if you get my drift. Last jump I did in the mob was a HAHO in the US. We had to wear transponders, so we didn’t get hit by private pilots that were on the approach to the LZ. Still find it weird jumping in with planes underneath you, then passing them when they are completely oblivious to you. Probably scare the cack out them,… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
2 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Pull up a sandbag people we could be here all night 😂😂😂👍!

Daveyb
Daveyb
2 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

Helps with the PTSD apparently….😉

Johan
Johan
3 days ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

Air Tanker? and sky vans have been used since Para’s left Aldershot. so fare to say a good labour lying cheating government in there as well. the modern training process, is better value for money over the old boy contracts offered over the decades.

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
3 days ago
Reply to  Johan

The old boy contracts are still going on now. More so than ever before.

Iain Anderson
Iain Anderson
3 days ago

Embarrassing that the government has underfunded the military that much, we are going on “pleasure” jumps to keep their eye in. I fear for our future if anything should happen and we commit forces against another grade A military.

Bill
Bill
3 days ago

Just keep a few Hercules. Sorry, too radical??!!

Taffybadger
2 days ago

Aircraft are to be fitted with an ‘altimeter ‘ ..
.erm….I should hope so !!

Robert Warner
Robert Warner
16 hours ago

Nothing new. For many years now, Canadian and American soldiers have been doing parachute training from leased civilian light aircraft. The favorite is the Northern Irish-built Shorts Skyvan because it has a tail ramp similar to military transports. The Spanish-built CASA 212 is a close second followed by: Beechcraft King Air, Cessna Caravan, etc. all with one or two turbo-prop engines. Canadian Search and Rescue Technicians started leasing civilian airplanes – during the early 2000s when they realized that their DHC-5 Buffalos were running low on flight hours, ergo were too expensive for casual parachute training.