BLP, Simmons & Simmons in £635m MoD training deal

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), Linklaters and Simmons & Simmons have scored roles advising on a £635m contract to provide flight training for the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

BLP helped the Ascent consortium, comprising VT Group and Lockheed Martin, secure the 25-year deal.

BLP finance head Simon Allan was supported by project finance partners Mark Richards and Richard Lucas.

The MoD was represented by Simmons & Simmons, despite the firm being kicked off the MoD’s panel in 2006 (The Lawyer, 20 January 2006), with financial markets partner Kim Walking worked alongside projects partner Richard Dyton.

Simmons has continued to advise on contract bids that started before its dismissal, including a £13bn fleet deal with the AirTanker consortium in March (The Lawyer, 28 March 2008) and a £16bn training programme announced at the beginning of 2007 (The Lawyer, 29 January 2007)

CMS Cameron McKenna provided separate advice for VT Group through corporate partner Jason Zemmel.
The total value of the deal over 25 years is estimated to be up to £6bn.

Linklaters global projects head Bruce White and projects partner Stuart Rowson were instructed by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which funded the project.

For BLP, the flight training contract is the second major mandate of the year from £1bn turnover defence company VT Group.

The firm also advised VT on its involvement in the AirTanker consortium that won a £13bn contract to replace the RAF air-to-air refuelling fleet, one of the UK’s largest ever PFI projects.