The Ministry of Defence is investing £80 million in new specialist equipment to help train the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy helicopter pilots and rear crews of the future.
A £51million contract with Lockheed Martin UK will support Chinook Mk 6 training and a £29 million contract has been awarded to AgustaWestland to provide Merlin Mk 4/4a aircrew Synthetic Training Devices.
The equipment will provide a realistic representation of the operating environments the crews will fly in, and will enable them to practice manouvres and procedures safely and repeatedly to enhance their learning.
The simulation equipment will be based at military bases in Somerset and Hampshire.
Minister of State for Defence Procurement Philip Dunne said:
“We are providing our Armed Forces with one of the most capable and technologically advanced helicopter fleets in the world, and to complement this, it is essential that we also provide them with the very best and latest training. Alongside essential flying experience, these simulators will play a vital role in ensuring our people are capable, competent and ready to deploy on operations around the globe.
“Over the last year, we are very proud to have delivered a number of new helicopter capabilities to our Armed Forces, and we plan to invest a further £11 billion over the next decade to sustain and further improve our fleet.”
Air Vice-Marshal Julian Young, Director Helicopters at the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support organization, said:
“Simulation is a solution that, when blended with live flying events, provides the optimum individual and team-level training.
“Although it can never replace live training fully, being able to create a wide variety of training scenarios and operating settings can provide a more challenging, safer and controllable environment to help our forces practice in a way that is essential to effective mission preparation.”
The Chinook Mk 6 synthetic training service will be housed in a purpose-built facility at RAF Odiham in Hampshire and will include two flight deck device simulators, a rear crew training device and a suite of computer based training facilities.
The contract with Lockheed Martin UK includes two years for the design and production of the equipment and the training facility, with a follow on 10-year training service support package.
Meanwhile, training for the pilots and rear crew of the Royal Navy’s Merlin Mk 4/4a helicopters will be provided through the use of new simulators at the aircraft’s Main Operating Base at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset.
As part of the contract, AgustaWestland has selected simulator specialist CAE to supply two Flight Training Devices, a Flight Navigation Procedures Trainer and a Rear Crew Trainer, which will be delivered from 2017 and installed in existing buildings.
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