RAF VALLEY reached a significant marker in its delivery of military fast jet training with the first flight of a student pilot in the new Texan T1 aircraft.

Flt Lt Matthew Kenealy flew in ZM325 with one of the Texan instructors in what was a historical day for TIS on Tuesday, October 15.

The Texan T1 is a tandem-seat turboprop aircraft, equipped with the latest digital glass cockpit and mission simulation systems.

A technological step change from the Tucano that it replaces, the Texan is aligned with the 4th and 5th generation combat aircraft that the trainee pilots will fly in their front-line careers.

Wing Commander Chris Ball, Officer Commanding of the Texan Integration Squadron, soon to be 72 Squadron, at RAF Valley said:

“Under the Military Flying Training System, fighter pilots will train on world-leading aircraft. They start on the Prefect, move on to the Texan and finish on the Hawk T2, making the training process more efficient and far more representative of the aircraft types they will eventually fly. The Texan is the ideal lead-in trainer to the Hawk T2 advanced jet trainer that they will move on to here at Valley.”

The basing of the Texan T1’s at RAF Valley means that two-thirds of fast jet pilot training for the RAF and Royal Navy will take place at the Anglesey base. Under the Military Flying Training System, training delivery is a partnership between the Ministry of Defence and Ascent Flying Training. In addition, Affinity Flying Training Services provide and maintain the aircraft at RAF Valley.

Group Captain Chris Moon, Station Commander RAF Valley said: “The first student flight in a Texan is a hugely significant moment for RAF Valley and the Whole Force Team that has worked hard to achieve this key milestone. It reinforces the vital role Valley has in UK defence, providing world-class, next generation fast jet training of RAF and Royal Navy pilots for the front line. RAF Valley is now truly the home of fast jet training in the UK, with both Basic and Advanced Fast Jet training being delivered right here in North Wales. This growth at Valley provides exciting employment opportunities and cements our place as the second largest employer on Anglesey.”