The UK Ministry of Defence has announced an over £90 million investment in a new helicopter simulation centre to help train the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy helicopter pilots of the future.
The MoD’s procurement organisation, Defence, Equipment and Support, has extended a contract with CAE Aircrew Training Services for another 8 years to continue delivering training for Chinook, Puma and Merlin aircrews at the facility in South Oxfordshire.
The equipment provides a realistic representation of the operating environments the crews will fly in, including emergency situations like the effects of icing and rotor blade damage, the impact of gun or missile fire and electronic warfare, total electrics failure and fuel management issues.
The contract will deliver training for Chinook and Puma aircrews until the Puma planned out-of-service date. Training for the Merlin Mk3 will continue at the facility for at least two more years as the Royal Navy transitions from the Mk3 to the Mk4 helicopter.
The centre is equipped with six CAE-built dynamic mission simulators (three Chinook, two Merlin and one Puma), four computer-based ground school training classrooms and a Tactical Control Centre that allows for operational mission training.
Adrian Baguley, Director Air Support at the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support, said:
“The importance of effective synthetic training cannot be underestimated and continues to play an increasingly important role in our overall training curriculum.
“The Medium Support Helicopter Aircrew Training Facility has consistently delivered a high standard of quality training to the operators of our front line helicopter capabilities. This agreement continues to maintain the world-leading ground school and simulator training facility for our helicopter aircrews”.