Simmons beats Freshfields, DLA and Wragges to MOD PPP

Simmons & Simmons has added to its portfolio of deals for the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) after winning a pitch against DLA, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Wragge & Co. Simmons has won the mandate to advise on a multi-billion pound public private partnership project to replace current flying training arrangements with a new tri-service Military Flying Training System (MFTS).

“This is likely to be the biggest job coming through [from the MOD] in the next few years, so we were very keen to win it,” said Simmons projects partner Richard Dyton, who will act as project manager.

The team is being led by aerospace and defence partner Richard Armitage with Dyton, financial markets partner Kim Walking and projects partner Juliet Reingold.

MOD panel members DLA, Freshfields and Wragges are understood to have pitched in the tender, which was run by MOD legal adviser Charles Pestell.

The MOD is looking to the private sector to provide a merged service across the armed forces that will include highly sophisticated aircraft, simulators and classroom training, rather than acquiring training aircraft itself. The project is due to become effective in 2007.

Dyton said: “The innovative thing for us about this deal is that it is an untested deal structure. We're going back to basic principles to find the best structure for the MOD.”

Simmons is also working on the MOD's Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft project, which is down to two preferred bidders, and advised the MOD on Carlyle's £250m buy-in of Qinetiq.