New simulation technology to enable virtual exercises for UK and US pilots

simulation technologyImage: New simulation technology to help UK and US pilots carry out virtual exercises. Photo: courtesy of Crown copyright.

A new cutting-edge simulation technology is set to help British pilots carry out simultaneous, virtual exercises with their US counterparts.

In this connection, UK Defence Minister Stuart Andrew announced a contract worth £36m with Boeing Defence UK to develop the simulation technology which can simultaneously replicate up to three real-life scenarios that will be independent of each other. The simulation technology will help the UK and the US pilots come across the same battle environment and threats.

Under the contract, Boeing Defence UK will be responsible for the design and manufacture of the simulation systems and software, along with providing the first five years of support. The simulation equipment will be installed at RAF Waddington.

Known as ‘Gladiator’, the simulation programme is expected to give the UK’s RAF unprecedented training flexibility. Furthermore, the simulation technology will help its pilots to exercise capabilities, tactics and procedures that are otherwise not possible in the live environment owing to airspace, availability of aircraft, or security constraints.

Andrew said: “This synthetic training technology offers the RAF a cost-effective, powerful and safe way to prepare our aircrew for the complex threats they will face on the battlefield.

“The UK-US defence partnership is already the deepest and most advanced of any two countries and now our pilots will be able to train for the frontline more closely than ever.”

The manufacture and design of Gladiator is likely to be wrapped up within two years, with aircrew expected to begin training on the equipment in 2021.

Flight simulator and synthetic training portfolio team leader Russ Cole said: “The award of this contract heralds a 21st century capability that will transform the ability of the RAF to undertake collective operations, tactics and procedures training in the synthetic environment that cannot be performed in the live environment.

“We are looking forward to working with Boeing over the next few years to design, build, deliver and operate a state-of-the-art training hub at the centre of a collective training web capability.”

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