• The Royal Saudi Air Force is moving to a training system based on PC-21s.
    The Royal Saudi Air Force is moving to a training system based on PC-21s. Defence

BAE Systems is seeking Qualified Flying Instructors (QFIs) for its training contract with the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) and is advertising locally for potential candidates.

The company is particularly targeting RAAF QFIs currently based at East Sale with the Central Flying School (CFS) and its new basic flying training school, which is yet to be formally named. Accordingly, the company is holding information sessions in Traralgon – situated in Gippsland, between Melbourne and East Sale – on Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 May.

The opportunities are for Instructor Pilots at the RSAF’s King Khaled Air Base at Riyadh under BAE Systems’ Al Yamamah arms deal with the Saudi Government. The RSAF has two Squadrons of Pilatus PC-9 training aircraft based in Riyadh and, like the RAAF, is moving to a new training system based on the PC-21.

According to the company’s on-line advertisement, successful candidates will earn over $346,000 per annum, tax free.

“BAE Systems Australia employs Australian and NZ aircrew to work with the Royal Saudi Air Force in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the advertisement states.

“Together with an attractive salary and tax exemption status, BAE Systems Australia offers a range of additional benefits, including a travel allowance, an annual service bonus after two years, company-provided accommodation, schooling or full-time boarding school allowance for up to two dependent children, free in-Kingdom health care plus excellent recreation and leisure facilities and approximately nine weeks of annual leave.”

BAE Systems says it is committed to equal-opportunity employment but, in consideration of Saudi cultural and religious laws, it will only consider male applicants.

Other requirements are for a minimum of 1,500 flying hours, of which 800 must be command time, with a minimum of 400 hours of instructional experience on the PC-9 or PC-21 or similar platform (the Royal NZ Air Force currently operates the Beechcraft T-6C Texan II in the training role).

Of the previous totals, 100 hours of both flying and instructional hours must to have been accrued in the last twelve months and the maximum age on recruitment must be 52 or less.

Applications close on May 24.

ADM Comment: It is no secret that Gulf State airlines such as Emirates, Etihad, Gulf Air and Qatar Airways, together with military flying training contracts in the Middle East and Saudi Arabia in particular, are seen as lucrative short to medium-term opportunities for Australian and NZ military pilots and the path has been well-trodden in recent years.

Speaking to ADM towards the end of last year, Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal ‘Leo’ Davies said that he was not unduly concerned with efforts by airlines, or companies with overseas military training contracts, to target RAAF QFIs and pilots.

AM Davies said that RAAF continues to provide a flexible career path for skilled personnel and many pilots return from such positions to resume their careers.

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