Michael Fallon also highlighted a continuing investment of £366 million in world class training facilities at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire today, which is the home of the country’s air transport and air-to-air refuelling fleets. The four new aircraft will form an important part of the RAF’s growing fleet, helping them to support operations around the globe.
During the visit Mr Fallon met with personnel working at the base, the number of which has grown following the arrival of the Hercules force from RAF Lyneham. He announced a plan to invest £50 million in 200 new homes for Service personnel and their families based near there.
The A400M aircraft will eventually replace the Hercules fleet. The arrival of two new A400M aircraft will bring the number at the base to seven, with another fifteen to be delivered over the next three years.
To support the growing fleet £366 million will be invested to provide world class training facilities at Brize. Pilots are already training on an A400M flight simulator, and a second one is set to be installed – a £50 million investment - which will ready for training in June this year.
In addition, £25 million will see the installation of a Cargo Hold Trainer, a full-size representation of the A400M’s cargo hold and will be used for training loadmasters and other specialist personnel. Smaller trainers are also being installed, including one for parachutists, with all due to be ready for use in the summer.
The final two Voyager aircraft will be delivered to the base over the next few months, ensuring the full operational capability of the Voyager fleet until the aircraft go out of service in 2035.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
The arrival of two new Voyager and two new A400M aircraft here at Brize, supported by a £366 million investment in world class training facilities, will allow the RAF to continue carrying troops and equipment on operations around the world.
Additionally, we plan to invest in 200 new homes for our service families near RAF Brize Norton, helping to ensure the station will endure as a vibrant place to work and live for over 7000 people.
Group Captain Simon Edwards, Station Commander RAF Brize Norton, said:
RAF Brize Norton is delighted to welcome the Secretary of State for Defence today, for him to see our modern fleet of Air Transport and Air to Air Refuelling aircraft, and – importantly – for him to meet the people who deliver our operations safely, together.