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UKMFTS Failing to Deliver...again

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UKMFTS Failing to Deliver...again

Old 12th Aug 2022, 15:20
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And did someone in the upper reaches really use the word “tailspin” to describe CAS’s state of mind? I presume it wasn’t an aviator, oh sorry, I mean someone who knows something about aviating.

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Old 13th Aug 2022, 01:52
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OK, at the risk of detracting attention from those who are insistent on telling us what it was like for them in the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's, I have recently taken up semi-retirement (virtually total apart from a little gentle consultancy) and so have had the time to do a little digging around the media and MoD stats, most of which are totally contradictory. Looking at ASCENT's published figures, those given to various Defence Select Committees, NAO reports and other MoD official documents and stats, I think that we are throwing rocks at the wrong target!

To put my exec summary first, the problem is NOT MFTS, but the Operational Conversion Units. ASCENT, the MFTS Contractor, is delivering the required total numbers annually, even considering the fact that those numbers seem to constantly fluctuate up and down based on differing SDSR's, 2010 and 2015 being the most significant in altering numbers. The MoD has a contracted total annual output called a SUN, a Statement of User Need. This is the contracted legal required output of trained pilots at the end of each year's accounting period. This appears to be around 300 for fixed wing and 270 for Rotary Wing. MFTS IS delivering these numbers, the problem seems to be two fold; firstly that the total being graduated from MFTS cannot be absorbed by the OCU's, and secondly that the total is just that, a total, with no breakdown of ab initio, refresher or instructor. So, the problem is compounded annually by the total number graduating not being given conversion slots and then, after a considerable period holding, they are fed back into the system for a refresher, thus reducing the total available instructor and genuine trainee slots. Of that 300 fixed wing for example, the last set of figures shows 117 refresher slots, so almost half of the annual output is refreshed trainees going through for a second time. This OCU issue seems to be affecting Typhoon, Lightning, Chinook, Puma and Apache.

So, as ASCENT via MFTS is only responsible for Phase 2, that is primary through advanced training in a language I understand, NOT Phase 3, the Operational Conversion stage, which is all service provided, the problem would seem to lie with the RAF and not the contractor.

Compounding all this is, as BEagle alluded to above, is the fact that the system is designed to be as cheap as possible with absolutely no allowance for surge, training bulges or any alterations in requirements. Added to which the RAF/AAC/FAA produce an annual Flying Training Plan which is issued to the contractor and advises on the required output UP TO the SUN figure. IF, as happened this year, the requirement exceeds the SUN (323 as opposed to 300) then the contractor has no opportunity to add assets, service or civilian, in that year.

Also, as someone who went through this system in the 60's saw only too visibly, there are now none of the added assets to aid such issues as outlined above (which DID exist in the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's ) such as a School of Refresher flying or seperate Central Flying School squadrons with their own aircraft at Fast Jet and Rotary stages. These do not exist because the customer didn't ask for them, not because some mealy mouthed contractor didn't think that they were necessary. Thus they are not there to be used on a regular basis to aid the increased throughput of refresher or instructor aircrew. I myself knew of a fair few of my contemporaries who, for one reason or another, spent periods of time at Manby on the two squadrons of Jet Provost T4's of the School of Refresher Flying which existed precisely because it was recognised that refreshers would put an undue strain on the output of the Flying Training School's.

And finally, is the fact that the entire RAF flying training fixed wing inventory consists of: 23 Prefect T1's, 14 Texan T1's, 28 Hawk T2's and 5 Phenom T1's, plus an unknown quantity of Tutor T1's which, from a pure flying training standpoint, seem still to equip one elementary flying training squadron and an instructor squadron. This just seems far too small.
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Old 13th Aug 2022, 08:24
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Pprune, the pp presentation that was leaked to the media pretty much said that the main problem was reduced OCU capacity due to Ops, external tasking and training non U.K. aircrew. It had some stats showing the reduction in OCU demand / capacity all of which were bad but the Chinook OCU was worst. I understand that the Typhoon OCU has pretty much stopped ab-initio training. Hawk engine problem doesn’t help either.
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Old 13th Aug 2022, 09:35
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Surprised they've not started digging into the chronic currency and experience issues on the front line, particularly those around high-end war warfighting. We're very good at CAS in permissive, but congested environments, along with BFM and ACM, but dig into 4-ship Tac Ops, BVR, and SAC-T etc then the picture isn't pretty on the TyF. A result of commitments, aircraft availability (DT and TyTAN), and training burden (flying RED) to name but a few resulting in single figure monthly live flying when not deployed. A similar, if not worse position afflicts Lightning.
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Old 13th Aug 2022, 09:36
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I'm in no position to argue with any of the above views, and most are in agreement anyway. But I have a different perspective.

It used to be that 'training' was part of the main procurement programme. In avionic terms, for example, and by edict, the simulator was #3 aircraft in the production/conversion line (after Trials and Proof), for fairly obvious reasons. In materiel and financial provisioning terms, it had the full status of a 2nd line unit. Not a portacabin in the corner of an airfield. To implement these policies, one had to get right all the things mentioned above that have gone wrong. Importantly, each Service had scrutineers who jumped all over you if it was in anyway wrong. Still extant policy, but who knows this, and who in the Services will stand up today and play this red card?

Then along came 'Integrated Logistic Support'. An unfortunate term, given that hitherto ILS meant cradle to grave management, but now referred to one small but crucial part of the whole. Training was shoved into ILS, which of course is the first target for 'savings'. Immediately, there were complete disconnects between aircraft/equipment programmes, and training. The 'ILS Date' would be announced as 'ISD minus 3 months', which is little use if it takes a year to train/convert.

Easy in theory, quite difficult in practice, but nevertheless it worked more often than not because we had guys doing this as a vocation, not a 2 year tour. And you didn't award the main contract, and only then kick off a 3 year tender for the sim or aircrew training. The successful programmes get this kind of stuff right. The last time I did it (long ago now) the key was not PFI'ing the sim. (Which was a matter of saying 'no' in the overseas sales box). The same day, Apache said ok, and look what happened. How many UK standard Apache sims did we sell?

Just a view from a different part of the same process.

A word about CAS. He carries all RAF reputational risk. It's easy for Mr Wallace to say 'fix it'. But like most Duty Holders in MoD, CAS doesn't actually have the wherewithal to do much. He relies on far too many outwith his control. As soon as he engages with, for example, DE&S, he'll perhaps be told by his opposite number that they have conflicting priorities placed upon them by Mr W. Therefore, I'd like to think their joint response was to hand Mr W a shopping list of prerequisites. This is not a matter for CAS alone. It's for the Defence Council and above.
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Old 13th Aug 2022, 10:33
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CAS is, however responsible for mandating 80/20 or 90/10 synthetic / real mix ( and, I think, aspiring to 100/0) which would be barking even with decent sims. Anyone care to comment on how many Typhoon training devices reflect the current mod and software state?

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Old 13th Aug 2022, 13:15
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Originally Posted by Timelord View Post
Pprune, the pp presentation that was leaked to the media pretty much said that the main problem was reduced OCU capacity due to Ops, external tasking and training non U.K. aircrew. It had some stats showing the reduction in OCU demand / capacity all of which were bad but the Chinook OCU was worst. I understand that the Typhoon OCU has pretty much stopped ab-initio training. Hawk engine problem doesn’t help either.
That doesn't account for all those in holding positions though does it.

perhaps a new brevet is in order..



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Old 13th Aug 2022, 13:18
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I think of the 150+ holding about 60 were pre OCU. One of many issues.
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Old 13th Aug 2022, 15:18
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Precisely, and that is defecting the bigger issue away from the public's eye, and it will not go away anytime soon.

As you know, I was an airman many moons ago and even I can see what the current sh*tstorm is creating. It rankles that those in charge and paid mega bucks to run the airforce cannot see the what is in front of their eyes. how incompetent and inept they are, the whole lot of senior ranks from the CAS down need to resign and those the have thecompetencyto run the RAF needs to step up to the plate.
CAS more C ASS
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Old 13th Aug 2022, 19:56
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Originally Posted by Timelord View Post
I think of the 150+ holding about 60 were pre OCU. One of many issues.
You can make that number 300
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Old 13th Aug 2022, 23:06
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You can make that number 300
source?
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Old 14th Aug 2022, 08:35
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Damning.......and this guy should know!

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Old 14th Aug 2022, 14:48
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So we could disband the RAFAT and I presume a lots of their pilots were QFIs. So we could have 10 extra hawks with maybe 10 instructors available.

Could then train some of the backlog on T1s then carry on with the hawk and do a creamie course.

Aiming for less backlog and more instructors in the system
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Old 14th Aug 2022, 16:29
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Originally Posted by typerated View Post
So we could disband the RAFAT and I presume a lots of their pilots were QFIs. So we could have 10 extra hawks with maybe 10 instructors available.

Could then train some of the backlog on T1s then carry on with the hawk and do a creamie course.

Aiming for less backlog and more instructors in the system
Donít think that any are QFIís. Tis an awful long time since the RA were found from the ranks of instructors, they all seem to come from the front line these days.

And as the T1 now only serves with the Red Arrows (17, not 10) if you disbanded them the type would simply be retired.
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Old 14th Aug 2022, 18:08
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Originally Posted by pr00ne View Post
Donít think that any are QFIís. Tis an awful long time since the RA were found from the ranks of instructors, they all seem to come from the front line these days.

And as the T1 now only serves with the Red Arrows (17, not 10) if you disbanded them the type would simply be retired.
Take em away for a newly invented 6 week assistant instructor course. Pass them all and put them to work.

CG
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Old 14th Aug 2022, 18:16
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The problem is OCUs as I understand it. Whilst the Hawk T2 has been explained to have some ongoing engine issues, there are Pilots waiting for OCUs as I understand it? Anyway, the T1 is a pretty poor training aircraft for future F35B and Typhoon pilots - like learning to ride on an old BSA before being let loose on a superbike!
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Old 14th Aug 2022, 18:26
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Originally Posted by The B Word View Post
The problem is OCUs as I understand it. Whilst the Hawk T2 has been explained to have some ongoing engine issues, there are Pilots waiting for OCUs as I understand it? Anyway, the T1 is a pretty poor training aircraft for future F35B and Typhoon pilots - like learning to ride on an old BSA before being let loose on a superbike!
I'm 65. I reckon I could ride a c15 in the morning and a superbike after lunch. Safely. Having only a Honda 50 in my quiver.

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Old 14th Aug 2022, 18:32
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Shortly after the first bendÖ

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Old 14th Aug 2022, 18:46
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Heard a rumour that the RAF will change the colour scheme applied to service aircraft.

No more black training aircraft or dull grey front line with toned down markings.

A very inclusive rainbow will be just the job

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Old 14th Aug 2022, 19:18
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Please allow an interested outsider a view.

Towards the end of my career in Met. I worked to one-stars and with senior officers in various disciplines: Vulcan, Victor, Harrier, Tornado, Eng., Legal, Medical. This was in the 1980s 1990s.
To a man and woman they seemed dedicated and competent.

Judging by what I read in this thread and others, something has gone wrong with the higher direction of the RAF, very sad personally for me, even without a dog in the fight.
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