RAF bosses have spent £50m on helicopter flying schools with no students
RAF chiefs spent £50m on helicopter flying schools with no students.
It paid contractor Ascent for 86 courses that never took place.
The courses were part of a £3.5billion deal to privatize top gun training for the first time.
Former military secretary Mark Francois called the deal a “basket case” and promised MPs would investigate.
He said, “It’s like paying for a driving test that you never take.”
The Ministry of Defense said it didn’t know how much each course cost, but analysis shows they were nearly £600,000 each.
Britain’s military flight training system should save millions of pounds.
But it forced senior management to guess how many courses were needed.
They booked 560 helicopter courses from 2018 to 2023, 86 of which were no longer needed after the end of the war in Afghanistan.
Former fast jet pilot Tim Davies said the rigid deal was forced on the Air Force and “cannot adjust to cope with new numbers.”
He said, “In the end, the taxpayer foots the bill.”
Ascent said they are working “as a team” with the Department of Defense and its procurement arm, DE&S.
However, the companies refused to refund courses or use the time to clear backlogs from other pilots.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace ordered a review of flight training after leaked documents showed 350 trainee pilots were stuck in limbo awaiting courses.
Students wait years for their qualification.
The Department of Defense insisted that pay was not “per class.”