Defence flight training school to stay in Tamworth

3 May 2011

Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Stoner has congratulated BAE Systems on securing the Australian Defence Force's Basic Flying Training School for Tamworth.

In a major win for the NSW defence industry, BAE Systems has beaten strong competition from Victoria to win an extension on its current contract through to 2017.

The Office of Trade, Business & Industry (OTBI), both in Tamworth and in Sydney, has been working closely with BAE Systems on the project for over four years. Assistance has included advocating for the location to the Commonwealth, a financial support package to make the company's bid as competitive as possible, and assisting Tamworth Regional Council to improve security by building a fence around the facility.

"This is terrific news for BAE Systems, the city of Tamworth and for regional NSW," Mr Stoner said.

"BAE Systems Australia has won an extension on its contract to train Australian Defence Force pilots in flight screening and basic flight training at Tamworth through to at least 2017.

"The Basic Flying Training School supports 135 direct full-time jobs in Tamworth, trains about 425 students a year, and injects around $9 million a year directly into the local economy with significant additional impacts when flow on jobs are included.

"Importantly, the securing of this contract extension also places BAE Systems in a strong position to secure a further 25 year defence flight training contract, known as AIR 5428, from 2017.

"Now that this contract has been confirmed, we will not be resting on our laurels – we will start working towards AIR 5428 which will provide the Air Force, Army and Navy with a new fixed wing pilot training system covering all facets of undergraduate pilot training.

"The NSW Government is committed to creating jobs in regional NSW across the widest range of industry sectors.

"The regions are important drivers of economic prosperity for the State and indeed the nation," Mr Stoner said.

Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said Tamworth has played an important and historic role in the training of RAAF pilots dating back to World War II.

"Tamworth is an excellent location for RAAF pilot training given its many competitive advantages," Mr Anderson said.

"Tamworth offers significant advantages due to its existing infrastructure, longstanding experience and expertise in air force training, open air space and second airstrip, with excellent weather for flying conditions."