24-Mar-2014 Source: Royal Air Force
THE head of the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF) joined the RAF’s training chief at RAF Valley recently to view the world-leading technology that is helping to shape the fighter pilots of the future. Major General Finn Kristian Hannestad, Inspector General of the RNoAF and Air Vice-Marshal Mike Lloyd, Air Officer Commanding 22 (Training) Group RAF visited the Anglesey base recently to meet personnel from IV(R) Sqn RAF and Ascent Flight Training.
Fast jet pilots from the RAF and Royal Navy train on the BAE Systems Hawk TMk2 advanced jet trainer at RAF Valley, and benefit from a synthetic training package that incorporates both flight simulation and advanced mission planning and de-briefing systems. The training is delivered in a joint venture between the RAF’s IV(R) Sqn and Ascent Flight Training, itself a partnership between Lockheed Martin and Babcock International. Both IV(R) Sqn and Ascent are based at a brand new building and hangar complex at RAF Valley.
Group Captain Pete Cracroft, CO of No 4 Flying Training School at RAF Valley explains: “The new Hawk TMk2 has been fantastic, presenting us with opportunities to develop skills that are more in line with the new generation of front line aircraft such as the Typhoon and the F-35 that the students will be going to fly after Valley. The synthetic training systems are ahead of their time – hence the interest from allied air forces such as the Royal Norwegian Air Force – and they significantly reduce the time it takes for students to become familiar with flying a combat aircraft once they move to their operational conversion units. Both the UK and Norway will be operating F-35 in the near future, and we are working together to develop this world-leading capability for the benefit of both Nations”
The course, which takes students about 11 months to complete, combines classroom-based training using simulators with about 100 hours of actual flying. The previous courses on the Hawk TMk1 relied on students preparing training missions on paper and the instructors keeping hand written notes of the trainees progress. Using sophisticated computer equipment the student can plan the exercise beforehand downloading the details onto a data card which is inserted into the aircraft. The same data card is then removed after flight and the entire exercise can be replayed and examined in detail.
Wing Commander Dan Beard, OC IV(R) Sqn: “Norway is a key NATO ally, and we have forged strong links with the RNoAF that go back to the second world war. More recently, Norwegian F-16’s have supported coalition efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. We have a strong partnership, and so it’s been a real pleasure to welcome Major General Hannestad here to IV(R) Sqn and show him the capability that we have in the Hawk TMk2 and our advanced synthetic training systems”
Major General Hannestad said: “It’s great to be back in the UK and I have been highly impressed with the facilities here at RAF Valley and the professionalism of the personnel who I have met. The IV(R) Sqn team are highly experienced and qualified on the Hawk TMk2 and we are keen to expand our knowledge of the training system here. As Norway receives it’s first F-35 in 2017 we will look forward to working with partners such as the UK in bringing the aircraft into service”
Air Vice-Marshal Mike Lloyd is Air Officer Commanding 22 (Training) Group RAF and is in charge of all aspects of flying training across the Royal Air Force and elements of the other two services. The Hawk TMk2 and the delivery of advanced jet flying training by IV(R) Sqn and Ascent represent a world-leading capability for the UK. Interest in the system from across the world has been high. Air Vice-Marshal Lloyd said:
“I’ve been really pleased to welcome Major-General Hannestad to Valley. The relationship between the RAF and the Royal Norwegian Air Force is a strong and enduring one, and will become closer as we both introduce the F-35 into service. I hope that the visit today to see how we train our fast jet pilots will be of interest to the RNoAF and will promote further cooperation between our two Air Forces going forward.”