Crews from two Royal Navy Jetstream T Mk.2 navigator/observer trainer aircraft visited BAE Systems Regional Aircraft at Prestwick today to pay tribute to the 30 years of continuous support given by the facility.
Since it first entered service in 1979, the Jetstream T Mk2 has been used by 750 Naval Air Squadron at Culdrose, Cornwall, and now holds the record for operating the same type and mark of aircraft in the same role with the Fleet Air Arm.
The Jetstreams are used as flying classrooms to train Observers in basic navigation, radar, communications and airmanship before they graduate to the Merlin, Sea King Mk7 or Lynx Mk 8 helicopters. Over the past 30 years, nearly 1,000 students have completed what is commonly believed to be one of the hardest courses in the Royal Navy.
This role of the Observer in the Fleet is that of an airborne warfare officer. He/she must combine a comprehensive range of skills to control and co-ordinate ships, aircraft and weapon systems in the fighting of modern maritime warfare. Inherent in these skills is the ability to navigate over both land and open water, often operating far from base.
Sixteen Jetstream T Mk2s were originally delivered to the Royal Navy over a period from 1978-1983 and twelve aircraft remain in service. Powered by twin Turbomeca Astazou turboprop engines, the aircraft have an endurance of five hours and are configured with radar and other equipment consoles for training. The normal crew is one pilot, one observer and one student observer.
During this 30 year period, the original company, Scottish Aviation has become British Aerospace and now BAE Systems Regional Aircraft, but despite the name changes the same high level of customer and engineering support has always been given.
Under its post design services (PDS) contract BAE Systems Regional Aircraft and its predecessor companies have provided engineering and technical expertise. Working closely with the Ministry of Defence Training Aircraft integrated project team at RAF Wyton, the Prestwick team has developed and introduced almost 500 modifications to both enhance the aircraft and to prolong its useful life.
Repair schemes have been produced to keep the aircraft flying after various incidents. Spares have been supplied that keep the aircraft flying and technical publications have been continuously updated to keep the Royal Navy’s suite of manuals accurate and fully up to date. Mr Mark Taylor, Business Director Engineering of BAE Systems Regional Aircraft said today:
“We are delighted to welcome the Jetstream T Mk2 crews from 750 Naval Air Squadron to Prestwick. BAE Systems prides itself on its dedicated through-life support of its products and at Regional Aircraft we provide continuing airworthiness services and support to over 800 BAE Systems-built aircraft that are extant worldwide. This 30-year milestone serves to illustrate the long-term nature of such aircraft in-service support programmes.”
Lieutenant Commander Nick Armstrong, Commanding Officer of 750 Naval Air Squadron, stated that 750 NAS is the MoD’s longest established squadron in continual service and conducting the same role. He said: “A significant part of that service has been conducted with the Jetstream T Mk2 which has become synonymous with Observer training and the Royal Naval Air Station at Culdrose in Cornwall where it is based.”
A team from BAE Systems’ Regional Aircraft business at Prestwick in Scotland will provide engineering expertise on powerplant, pylon, nacelle, auxiliary power units and fuel systems.
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The company will perform scheduled inspections, along with required repairs, modifications and logistical support, for more than 300 aircraft operated by the Chief of Naval Air Training.
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