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RAF Shawbury graduation sees opening of new simulator complex

The first students to complete training on a new air traffic management system have graduated at RAF Shawbury.

Graduating students sat for a course photo

The latest Joint Air Traffic Control Course saw 13 students train for six months on simulators which replicate the new equipment being rolled out across the Defence estate under Programme Marshall, a £1.9 billion programme to upgrade and support the MODs terminal Air Traffic Management capability at airfields in the UK and overseas.

RAF personnel and Civil Servants working at desks, using the simulator technology

To commemorate the event, a new simulator complex was formally opened at the Defence College of Air and Space Operations by Air Commodore Jacob (Senior Responsible Owner), Mr Stoller (Chief Executive Officer Aquila Air Traffic Management Services) and Dr Dakin (Director Integrated Battlespace, Defence Equipment and Support).

Jacob, Stoller and Daykin revealing the commemorative plaque

“Today marks another significant milestone for Programme Marshall, ensuring that those going through the Air Traffic course at RAF Shawbury are best prepared for the controlling demands of the front line by training on the latest equipment.”

Air Commodore Jacob

The investment in Military Air Traffic equipment is designed to ensure safe and resilient flying operations for both military and civilian aircraft operating around and in and out of government aerodromes. This will see new equipment installed across more than 60 MOD sites in the UK and overseas by 2024, including Cyprus and Gibraltar.

“Introducing these new state of the art ATM simulators into DCASO Operations has been the result of a strong collaborative effort involving Aquila, our partners, and our customer the MOD. We are very proud that through this new capability, Aquila will support improvements in the training and throughput of military air traffic controllers, today and into the future.”

Mr Stoller

The programme includes a £400 million investment in advanced surveillance radars, ground to air radio voice communication and control systems, record and replay equipment, air traffic simulators, navigation aids and deployable air traffic management systems, ensuring legislative compliance whilst guaranteeing safe military operations are maintained at all times.

“I am privileged to be at RAF Shawbury for the official opening of this world class training facility and for the graduation of the first cohort from the Joint Air Traffic Control Course, helping to ensure the future of safe UK military air traffic management.”

Dr Dakin

The 22-year programme allows Air Traffic Controllers improved situational awareness, enhancing flight safety and combines into a single deal, what was previously more than 70 individual contracts in the Defence Air Traffic Management sector.