A private flight school refuses to reimburse £50m spent on the Royal Air Force in flying lessons that never took place. Ascent was paid the grand sum of 86 courses that never took place as part of a £2.5bn deal to take the training private.

Following the shocking revelation, former Armed Forces Minister Mark Francois described the contract as a “lost case” and vowed that MPs would investigate, Sun reports.

Francois added that the situation was like “paying for a driving test you never take.”

In a statement, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said it did not know how much each course cost, but analysis shows that each course cost a staggering £600,000.

The UK’s Military Flight Training System was reportedly supposed to save millions of pounds, but this scandal suggests the opposite occurred.

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Senior officials were reportedly forced to guess how many classes were needed instead of calculating how many were required.

They booked 560 helicopter flight courses between 2018 and 2023. Of these, 86 were no longer needed after the end of the war in Afghanistan.

Former fighter pilot Tim Davies said the deal was forced on the Royal Air Force who said that “you can’t flex to deal with the new numbers”.

Davies added: “The taxpayer ends up footing the bill.”

Responding to the news, Ascent said they worked “as one team” with the Ministry of Defense and its procurement arm DE&S.

Ascent has said it will not refund courses or use the time to remove backlog from other pilots.

The news comes after the Secretary of Defense benwallace ordered an audit of flight training after leaks showed 350 trainee pilots were waiting years for courses.

In a statement, the Defense Ministry insisted that payment was not per class.

A spokesperson said: “Payment is made for a full service provision including aircraftengineering, hangars, schools, instructors, study plan, didactic material, flight kit and administrative support in all areas.

“The contract has been designed to meet the needs of the front line that reports the numbers of aircraftsimulators, instructors and even reports the size of the hangars, this translates into the requirement against which UKMFTS contracts are placed.”

The controversy arises during a period in which the Royal Air Force it is trying to save money and modernize its fleet while trying to balance the books while maintaining Britain’s status as a major air power.

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