North West Wales

RAF pilot basic training boost welcomed by Anglesey councillor

Media captionCouncillor Morris Jones says it is good news that something is taking the place of the search and rescue facility

The move to bring basic pilot training for the RAF and Royal Navy to Anglesey has been warmly welcomed.

The Ascent consortium, who provide the training, is moving it from RAF Linton on Ouse in North Yorkshire to RAF Valley on Anglesey.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) confirmed that basic flight training would take place at the island base.

Councillor Aled Morris Jones said: "This is very good news, it ensures the future of the RAF base on Anglesey."

Mr Jones, who holds the economic development portfolio on Anglesey council, added: "We have very close links as the community of Anglesey with the base.

"We celebrate the freedom given to the base once a year and there is always a warm reception when they march through the county town.

Support roles

"But this is very good news... that something is taking the place of the search and rescue facility."

Advanced flight training has been conducted at Valley since 1950.

Pilots at RAF Valley are currently learning to fly Hawk T2 fast jets.

Announcing its preferred bidder to supply new basic training aircraft, Ascent said American Beechcraft T-6C aircraft would be based at RAF Valley in future.

A consolidation of flight training on Anglesey could create new jobs on the island in engineering and support roles.

RAF Search and Rescue, which has its headquarters at RAF Valley, is due to be wound down over the next two years as the private company Bristow has won the UK Government contract to replace the service.

The Duke of Cambridge spent three years as an RAF search and rescue pilot at Valley on Anglesey.

Prince William completed his last shift in 2013 and said the island has been a "special place" for him.

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