Berwin Leighton Paisner advises Ascent consortium – £635m UK military flight training contract

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP (BLP) has completed one of the largest PFI/PPP deals this year. Advising Ascent, the consortium of the VT Group and Lockheed Martin, the £635m (US$1.258bn) deal provides UK military flight training.  The contract, which was finalised only 18 months after the preferred bidder status was confirmed, is for 25 years.   

The Ministry of Defence contract covers training aircrew across the RAF, the Royal Navy and the Army Air Corps, including pilots for jets, helicopters and transport aircraft. The contract also includes work on weapons systems training, as well as other rear crew specialisations.

This deal demonstrates the growing reputation of the BLP Project Finance team to handle large scale complex projects. Over the past year alone, BLP’s Project Finance team have been involved in over US$4bn of project financing transactions spanning health, defence (including advising VT Group, on the largest PFI/PPP deals this year, Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) Project), power/water, accommodation, oil & gas and nuclear sectors.

Head of finance, Simon Allan led the team and was supported by project finance partners Mark Richards and Richard Lucas. In addition, associates Elizabeth Reid, Scott Dickson, Kenneth Addly, Kiran Arora,  Kellie Hatton and Martha Quinn, along with Associate Director Jackie Thomas, all played significant roles.

Simon Allan said: “The UKMFTS project sees the first application of the “integrator” model  and represents a material evolution in the PFI/PPP process.  We fully expect other sectors in the United Kingdom and other countries around the world to be looking on with interest.  BLP has been at the forefront of emerging PFI/PPP models over the past ten years and we are delighted to have completed this first.”

Simon Allan added: “It’s wonderful to be such an integral part of our client’s success. The deal was a great challenge and there are few legal teams who could handle the volume and complexity of the work in such a short space of time. It is testament to all the team at BLP that this was such a success.”

Linklaters LLP (Bruce White, Stuart Rowson, Mark Cheney) acted for the bank (as funders to the Project) and Simmons & Simmons (Kim Walkling, Richard Dyton, Andrew Brydon) acted for the UK Ministry of Defence.

If you would like further information, please contact Simon Allan at


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