The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is digging in for the final battle in its mission to privatise training of the Armed Forces.
Consortiums are currently bidding for the £10bn defence training rationalisation contract and the £2bn military flying training system contract.
Union officials have pledged to step up hostilities against the move after branding the next six weeks “crunch time”.
The MoD has said it will name the private consortiums that have won the two, 25-year training contracts – worth a total of £12bn – before Christmas.
But the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) has refused to wave the white flag and this week vowed to fight privatisation all the way.
A union spokesman said: “We want to see an in-house bid. The public sector should be able to bid as the experts who have made our Armed Forces the best in the world.”
The union fears that vital skills and experience would be lost if the training contracts go to private firms.
“The private sector has the potential to be inflexible and is motivated by profit. Privatisation has trouble written all over it,” said the union spokesman.
An MoD spokeswoman said: “An in-house bid was assessed as not being a viable option as it would not have provided the significant capital investment required to transform specialist training.
“In addition, this route would not provide the technical innovation, performance discipline and risk transfer delivered through a public-private partnering/PFI solution,” she added.