Lockheed Martin wins $867 million deal for Australian pilot training

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp LMT.N on Tuesday said it had won a seven-year contract worth A$1.2 billion ($867 million) to train the next generation of Australia's military pilots, with options for up to 25 years that could expand the deal's value.

Lockheed beat out Britain's BAE Systems Plc BAES.L, which currently holds the Australia pilot training contract.

The contract calls for Lockheed to deliver 49 Pilatus PC-21 aircraft, seven flight simulators, a modern learning environment for students, updated courseware and other logistical support, the company said in a statement.

Lockheed said it would train pilots for the Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Australian Navy and the Australian Army, with covered aircraft to include Lockheed’s F-35 fighter jet and MH-60R helicopters, Tiger Armed Reconnaissance helicopters and MRH-90 helicopters.

The first courses will begin in early 2019 with an annual intake of up to 165 trainee pilots, allowing the Australian Defense Forces to expand the number of pilot graduates from 77 to 105 pilots each year, the Australian government said in a statement.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal, editing by G Crosse