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05 Sep 19. UK MoD training too few pilots: NAO report. A report from the UK National Audit Office (NAO) has revealed the Ministry of Defence is failing to meet training requirements for aircrew by almost half. The investigation released today showed that over the past six years – leading up to 2018-19 – the MoD fell short of training requirements by on average 45%, equalling around 125 personnel a year.
Pilots also take far longer to train than in the past. The report says the average training for pilots to operate fast jets takes just over seven years, three years more than the MoD’s aim of 3.9 years.
In response to the findings, an MoD spokesperson said: “The Military Flying Training System (MFTS) is the biggest transformation of UK military aircrew training in a generation and we welcome the NAO report on this programme.
“Although we acknowledge there have been some challenges, the transition to the new system is now well underway and a steady improvement in aircrew throughput is being seen in all areas.”
As of this July, the NAO found that 145 RAF students have been waiting around over 90 weeks to being their training.
The report reads: “The MoD has long recognised issues with flying training. In 2008, it agreed a 25-year contract with Ascent – a joint venture between two defence contractors, Lockheed Martin and Babcock – to design, introduce and manage a new approach to Phase 2 of its three-phase training process, known as the Military Flying Training System (MFTS). This is when aircrew learn basic flying skills.
“However, aircrew requirements for MFTS have changed since the contract was awarded in 2008. In 2010, the MoD halved its aircrew requirement under the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review, which contributed to a six-year delay in introducing the system.”
In 2015, after halving aircrew requirements five years earlier, the MoD decided to acquire new aircraft and increased training requirements. In 2018-19 the requirement was increased by 29 per cent, equating 76 extra personnel.
The report added: “For the MFTS to operate effectively, the MoD and Ascent must both meet their respective contractual obligations. Failure to do so has led to delays and cancellation of courses. As of March 2019, 44 out of the 369 planned training courses (12%) had been cancelled.
“Of these, 28 related to the MoD not fulfilling its responsibilities including not providing enough qualified instructors or students. There were also occasions where the MoD and Ascent have failed to provide sufficient numbers of aircraft.”
The MoD insisted it does have enough aircrew to meet operational requirements, adding that “Student throughput is steadily increasing as the new aircraft, simulators and other state-of-the-art training aids bed in.”
It added that while students are awaiting training they are distributed across the Armed Forces to help fill in other operational needs. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
03 Sep 19. Realistic Simulators Boost Israeli Special Ops Troops. An Israeli defense forces (IDF) commando unit prepares an attack on a target in an area controlled by hostile terror groups. When the soldiers get to the target after days of preparations, they know the surroundings as if they have lived there for years. This is the result of a massive simulation machine operated in some of the ground forces training bases. These simulation centers use the accumulative power of many high-end technologies developed in Israel.
Avi Mizrahi, former commander of the IDF’s Central Command, told Breaking Defense that the IDF’s simulators and other “mission preparation systems” allow them to depict a combat zone to the smallest detail using inputs from aerial photography, satellite imaging and intelligence data. “All that enables the experts to build an almost realistic training zone that has all the characteristics of the area where a unit will have to perform a combat mission,” he said. The fidelity of these tools in the IDF is very high “and getting better all the time.”
This advanced capability of the IDF has been used in recent years to enable Special Forces to perform missions that for many years to come will stay under the heaviest secrecy curtain. Some, according to foreign sources were performed far away from the Israeli borders. The IDF “Depth Command” was formed some years ago, to answer a very crucial operational need.
According to foreign media reports this command was very busy in recent years. One such mission that’s come to light, because it contributed to Israel’s ongoing effort to stop the Iranian nuclear race, is the Mossad-led operation in Iran that resulted in Israel grabbing the full Iranian nuclear archive. No details were revealed about that “James Bond” style commando operation in the heart of Iran, but it can be assumed that to perform such a mission , and transfer the huge amount of paper dossiers and magnetic data, the commandos had to know every window and lock, and every alarm system in the building that the Iranians used to hide the archive.
Underground warfare, tactical breaching, and robotics are just a few of the specializations that the Lotar Counterterror School teaches IDF soldiers. These instructors are responsible for training all counterterrorism IDF units. They are combat soldiers who train others and, if needed, take part in operational activities. The facility is highly classified, but it changes sometimes on a daily basis to train soldiers for a planned action.
The other body in the forefront of anti-terror operations is the special operation unit of the border police, down as YAMAM, considered one of the most advanced anti-terror units in the world.
The training and simulation tools used by this unit are highly classified but we can reveal some details. Last year a unique facility opened in the heart of the Judean Desert, a few miles north east of Jerusalem. The site looks like a Hollywood set: huge greenhouses, exact copies of the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, of a street leading from the Old City of Jerusalem, and part of the Sharona restaurants and store center in Tel Aviv, all places where Israelis were killed in terror attacks.
The training area includes attention to the smallest details, down to authentic smells and singing coming from a loudspeaker of a model of a mosque. These are boosted by simulation tools used by the IDF and the other Israel security organizations that have been developed by Israeli companies.
For example, Elbit has developed ground combat simulators for joint tactical force-on-force live training. The integrated training system combines laser suites for dismounted infantry and armored vehicles, independent broadband communication and control center capabilities.
The key to the system is a soldier’s combat vest with advanced sensors and communications systems. The systems are comprised of a player’s unit computer, eye-safe laser emitter for all weapon types, user terminal interface, UHF communication module, Wi-Fi 2.4GHz, a GPS module, laser sensors and other supporting parts.
Here’s how the system works in practice. “The training soldier moves in the area and suddenly a terrorist throws a hand grenade,” an expert explained. “The soldiers within the hit range know that they have been injured and the others know exactly from what direction the grenade was thrown.”
Another simulation tool, the Magnet Magazine, has been developed by Bagira, an Israeli company.
Simulation training using such systems normally requires the use of blank ammunition which increases training costs and compels the use of additional safety measures such as dedicated magazines and muzzle plugs.
This Magnet Magazine complements the Laser Engagement Training System and eliminates the need for blank ammunition. The system is based on a special laser technology with a command and control system that enables the unit to combine field training with virtual training, to control the training activity and to generate a comprehensive After Action Review. (Source: glstrade.com/Breaking Defense.com)
04 Sep 19. British RAF fighter jets return home following Operation Azotize. The British Royal Air Force (RAF) has completed a four-month Operation Azotize deployment to support the Nato Baltic Air Policing mission in Estonia. RAF Typhoon fighter aircraft were deployed in Estonia to guard the skies over the Baltic country. The fighter jets have transferred the patrol duties of the Nato mission to Gripen aircraft from the Czech Air Force and returned to the RAF airbase in Lincolnshire, UK.
The RAF Typhoons took over the Baltic Air Policing mission in May this year from the German Air Force.
During the course of the Operation Azotize deployment, British Typhoons conducted 21 Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) scrambles to intercept 56 Russian military aircraft, including transport and fighter jets.
Nato countries are providing air policing support to the governments of the three Baltic nations, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as the countries do not possess their own fighter jets to guard their skies.
The Baltic Air Policing mission is intended to protect the integrity of Nato airspace. Nato nations take charge of the mission in turns to ensure the availability of a Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) force at all times to respond to potential threats and to intercept aircraft approaching Nato airspace.
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Throughout their deployment in Estonia, the world-class pilots, engineers and support personnel of our RAF Typhoon detachment have ensured that the Baltic skies have been patrolled safely and skilfully. Our presence in the region has served to reinforce that the UK remains ready to support our allies wherever and whenever required.”
Operation Azotize is the third deployment of the RAF Typhoons to Baltic Air Policing missions in Estonia. Previous deployments took place in 2015 and 2016. The RAF has stated that the Typhoons will head to Iceland later this year to perform Nato air policing mission duties. Meanwhile, RAF Typhoons based at RAF Coningsby have left for a four-month tour of the Middle East and the Far East to participate in exercises. (Source: naval-technology.com)
04 Sep 19. US Navy conducts MQ-8C Fire Scout pilot training course. US Navy personnel have trained on the newly acquired MQ-8C Fire Scout trainer aircraft using a new custom-built maintenance trainer. The first MQ-8C Fire Scout pilot course at the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit (CNATTU) in Norfolk, Virginia, concluded on 29 August. Instructors used either a Composite Maintenance Trainer (CMT) or an Avionics Maintenance Trainer (AMT) to teach aviation professionals, including electrician’s mates, electronics technicians, machinist’s mates, and structural mechanics.
The new systems are used for training on the latest version of the Northrop Grumman-built Fire Scout unmanned helicopter. Known as MQ-8C Airframes and Power Plants Organizational Maintenance Course, the eight-week ‘C’ School hands-on training course teaches maintenance at the squadron level. The Fire Scout CMT is used in the training course to deliver hands-on training to students on actual tasks.
CNATTU Norfolk commanding officer commander Sudduth said: “CNATTU Norfolk is proud to provide the highest calibre of training to our sailors. The new Fire Scout trainers will enable us to stay at the forefront of naval aviation training and ensure that our sailors arrive in the fleet with the tools they need to work on this cutting-edge technology.”
The MQ-8C Fire Scout, which is an advanced version of the MQ-8B, achieved initial operational capability in June this year. The unmanned helicopter’s airframe is based on the Bell 407. The MQ-8C can be used for reconnaissance, situational awareness, detailed targeting support, and aerial fire support.
MQ-8C instructor Destinee Riesing said: “We specifically designed this course to be laboratory intensive. Our new CMT is equipped to support that goal. Out of the 290 hours in the course, we only spend 60 in the classroom. This allows our students to receive critical, hands-on experience and as instructors, allows us to return to our roots turning wrenches.”
This month, instructors and students will embark on an eight-week MQ-8C Avionics Organizational Maintenance Course. During the course, instructors will use the AMT trainer. (Source: naval-technology.com)
03 Sep 19. Inzpire’s Targeted Fidelity Simulator Receives Upgrades Ahead of DSEI. Inzpire’s innovative Targeted Fidelity Simulator (TFS) has been upgraded with a number of capabilities which will be on show to the public for the first time at DSEI 2019. Harnessing years of engineering, simulator and training experience, the TFS has been developed by a number of Inzpire’s ex-military personnel to provide a fully customisable alternative to traditional full motion simulators which are typically costly, necessitate large spaces for installation and do not always deliver the required training need. This year, the TFS has been upgraded to feature higher fidelity instruments and displays than ever before and for the duration of the DSEI show will be in an EC135 helicopter configuration. The simulator will be operating using Bohemia Interactive Simulations Blue IG and VBS3 software to drive the visual system and generate the tactical training environment.
DSEI will also be an opportunity for the customer to once again experience the Targeted Fidelity Simulator’s electro-optic and infra-red sensor camera replication, enabling training in preparation for the use of cameras both in a military operational environment and for use on search and rescue or police helicopters. Additionally, the cockpit has now been optimised to fully integrate Inzpire’s GECO Mission Support System.
Post-DSEI, the TFS will be further upgraded with the addition of a rear cabin area which will include a crew-served weapon and winch operator training capability. The rear cabin area will utilise virtual reality headsets to provide the crew with full 360 degree views around the helicopter. This whole crew helicopter demonstrator capability will be available to customers from the end of October 2019. Additionally, the TFS will soon be integrated with Pitch Technologies Pitch Talk software, which will introduce a networked communications capability.
Steven Pook, Inzpire’s Targeted Fidelity Simulator programme manager, said of the developments: “Our aim at Inzpire is to create a revolution in simulation training and we have continued to develop our targeted fidelity simulator to ensure it remains at the leading edge of mission training. Inzpire’s collective training and operational experience in live and simulated environments helps us to design and deliver the very best simulator training systems for our customers and the TFS device we have brought to DSEI fully demonstrates Inzpire’s intent to live up to our aim”.
A fully functional TFS will be showcased on Inzpire’s stand S9-250 throughout DSEI.
Inzpire’s Targeted Fidelity Simulator
The Inzpire Targeted Fidelity Simulator is an adaptable training solution which ensures that the cockpit configuration and systems can be designed to meet the exact level of fidelity required by each individual customer. The design and fidelity of the simulator can be tailored to deliver training solutions across a wide range of platforms including helicopters, fixed wing aircraft, unmanned air systems, ground control stations and forward air controller environments. The interoperable nature of the TFS system also means that it is an ideal solution for those looking to deliver training that incorporates multiple aircraft or units that are geographically dispersed. The simulators can be networked together, enabling multiple participants to train at a single facility or across different locations to provide a cost-effective collective training solution.
Inzpire’s GECO System
Inzpire’s GECO System is designed to enhance the safety of missions through its suite of safety and aircrew assistance applications. The system increases mission effectiveness through the provision of situational awareness and decision assistance applications, whilst offering outstanding value for money through the use of commercial off the shelf hardware solutions where appropriate. There are over 400 GECO Systems in service with the Royal Navy, Army Air Corps and the Royal Air Force along with overseas customers including the Royal Jordanian Air Force and the Indonesian Air Force.
30 Aug 19. Poland reopens tender for combat training systems. Poland’s Armament Inspectorate (AI) reopened on 26 August a tender for tactical training systems for its land forces. The first tender announced in December 2015 was cancelled on 19 August after it exceeded its procurement budget.
Poland is seeking a combat training system, four laser live fire training systems, and five tactical battlefield simulators for armoured and mechanised units. The system should include sensors and laser transmitters mounted on military equipment, weapons, and vehicles, as well as devices and software for communication, co-ordination, and archiving and displaying the exercise. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
30 Aug 19. Inzpire deliver second Electronic Warfare Course for European Defence Agency. After two weeks of demanding training, the second iteration of an Inzpire-led electronic warfare course which is organised under the umbrella of the Helicopter Exercise Programme for the European Defence Agency (EDA) has been successfully delivered at RAF Linton-on-Ouse. 20 trainees from Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK completed the course. The majority of students were rotary aircrew, however a number of intelligence officers and fast jet aircrews also completed the training.
The course provided students with a comprehensive introduction to the fundamentals of electronic warfare and covered a range of topics including radar, infra-red and ultra-violet systems. Theory-based study was combined with practical learning, with each student on the course having to deliver a specified threat briefing on different platforms to enable a deeper understanding on the systems. Students also undertook learning in a simulated environment, where a bespoke electronic warfare sortie was conducted to allow trainees to visualise the theory they had learnt in the classroom.
To further enhance learning, the course, which is designed by Inzpire personnel, included a day at the UK Electronic Warfare range at RAF Spadeadam, where participants had the opportunity to examine systems such as SA-2, SA-3, SA-6 ad SA-8 in depth and engage with personnel who operate and maintain them.
The course was designed after research suggested aircrew and support personnel across Europe have a decreasing understanding of electronic warfare, in part due to a recent operational focus in theatres such as Iraq and Afghanistan where the battlefield is typically low-tech.
Luke Cabot, operations and training specialist for Inzpire Limited delivered the course and said: “The delivery of the second electronic warfare course was a fantastic opportunity for Inzpire to expand on our ground-breaking electronic warfare syllabus from the debut course. We had the unique opportunity to design a course unlike any other, and our enthusiasm, depth of knowledge and original thinking delivered an end result that was suitable for all levels of student. I was personally delighted to provide the EDA with knowledge that will enhance their operational capability”.
Chris Raynes, head of helicopter services for Inzpire Limited said: “Inzpire’s unique approach to training provision involves continuous interaction with trainees to drive enthusiasm within the group, and ensure that training objectives are met and exceeded. This was a fantastic opportunity to provide students from multiple member states with a foundation level understanding of electronic warfare principles, and we look forward to continuing to work in partnership with the European Defence Agency to deliver world-leading electronic warfare training”.
Meggitt Training Systems, makers of FATS® and Caswell technologies, a division of Meggitt PLC, is the leading supplier of integrated live-fire and virtual weapons training systems. Meggitt Training Systems continues to grow its capabilities based on the legacy of these two industry leaders.
Over 13,600 Meggitt live-fire ranges and 5,100 virtual systems are fielded internationally, providing judgmental, situational awareness and marksmanship training to the armed forces, law enforcement and security organizations. Meggitt Training Systems employs more than 400 people at its headquarters in Atlanta and at facilities in Orlando, Canada, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, UAE, Australia and Singapore. It can deploy service personnel anywhere in the world for instructor training, system installation and maintenance. Learn more at https://meggitttrainingsystems.com/.