Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR May 2013 Contents 22 Asia Pacific Defence Reporter mAy 2013
At its production facility on Brisbane Airport, Australian
Aerospace is currently assembling and delivering 46
MRH90 multi-role helicopters for the Army and Navy
and supporting 22 Tiger ARH for the Australian Army.
They have offered a low risk COTS solution based on
parent-company Eurocopter’s EC135 platform. The
mature EC135 is part of successful military training
systems in Germany, Switzerland, Spain, and Japan,
and is used operationally in Australia by the Victorian
and New South Wales police forces.
Boeing and Thales have been partners in defence
flight training and simulation for more than 15 years.
The companies have worked together to design a
fully integrated HATS solution for the Australian Navy
and Army that makes maximum use of instructors,
computer-based instruction, flight simulators, and
Since 2007, Boeing has delivered in Oakey, QLD, the
Army Aviation Training and Training Support (AATTS)
contract for a range of aircraft and their maintainers.
In October 2011 the 100th pilot graduated from their
ongoing Helicopter Qualification Course, meaning
they have a wealth of experience to bring to HATS, in
combination with Thales.
SIMULATION IS A COST-
EFFECTIVE TRAINING NECESSITY
At the German Army Aviation School, Bückeburg, 8
EC135 simulators provided by CAE and 14 Eurocopter
EC135 helicopters are used to train ab initio helicopter
pilots from all the German armed forces.
The deputy head of the School has said: “Today’s
helicopter pilot is essentially a computer operator in
a flying system”, drawing a stark comparison between
today’s aircrew and the ‘fly by the seat of the pants’
ethic of earlier generations.
Students typically do 50 hours of simulator time
before their first flight in a real aircraft. Over an
introductory course 60% of time is spent in a simulator.
The benefits of simulation are seen to be lower
costs which are approximately 10 to 15% of a directly
comparable sortie using a live aircraft; reduced flying
risks by practising procedures and learning how to
cope with unexpected events or emergencies, like
system failures, in a virtual environment; reduced
environmental impact; no transit time to the training
area; conducting night flying operations during the
day; practising multi-aircraft manoeuvres safely; and
less wear and tear on aircraft.
How is New Zealand getting on with training aircrew
for its new helicopters?
The RNZAF and RNZN are currently in a transition
stage, moving from older model helicopters with
analogue cockpits - the UH-1H Iroquois and
SH-2G(NZ) Seasprite - to the modern glass cockpit
NH90, A109 and potentially SH-2G(I) aircraft.
Training on Bell 47G Sioux helicopters from 1965
until stopped in December 2010, the RNZAF is now
using its five new A109 helicopters as their training
platform for all NZDF helicopter aircrew for the future.
In coming years they will train on an A109 Simulator
and other ground-based training aids before flying the
aircraft. The cost saving is described as similar to that
AgustaWestland, supplier of the A109 helicopters,
provided both the FTD (Flight Simulator - complete
with six axis electro-pneumatic motion system, a seat
vibration system and a sound system that models
aircraft and environmental sounds) and the Virtual
Interactive Procedure Trainer (VIPT) at Ohakea air
The VIPT is a PC-based system that replicates the
A109 cockpit using touch screens and allows training
in the use of individual systems (e.g. autopilot) and
of integrated systems (e.g. how the autopilot affects
navigation and flight displays). The VIPT is capable
of simulating all aspects of instrument flight using the
aircraft’s automatic flight control system.
“The simulator cost EUR9.3M ($A11.6M) and it
has an expected service life of at least 30 years. It will
provide approximately 1400 hours of training per year
but it has the capacity to provide in excess of twice
this, if required. At the planned rate, the simulator will
effectively pay for itself in less than five years,” said
AVM Stockwell, Chief of Air Force, at the simulator’s
The full flight and mission simulator’s capital cost
was less than half the price of a new A109 helicopter.
What have the RNZAF observed and is this any
guide to what trainee Australian Navy and Army pilots
might look forward to with HATS?
Two recent articles in the NZDF’s Air Force News
quote officers describing the transition and how newly
qualified A109 pilots feel about their modern aircraft.
RNZAF SQNLDR Chris Moody oversees the
VIPT, which allows for 240 possible emergencies
to be practiced. “We use the instruction manual
for initial learning, the VIPT to teach the interaction
with the controls, and for IFR procedural training;
then it is the stepping stone to the FTD (Simulator)
where the pilot experiences the touch and feel of
the actual controls.”
SQNLDR Ron Thacker explained to readers
“The A109 has two engines which has significant
implications for how the performance of the aircraft is
managed. It is a sophisticated aircraft with advanced
technology, and that is especially evident in the
glass cockpit. The avionics allows the aircrew much
more capacity to concentrate on navigation and
communication and to manage the task environment.”
FLTLT Hayden Sheard is involved with the A109
trials and development. “I love the Iroquois, but I
am enjoying flying the A109. I wouldn’t trade it for
anything”. He describes the difference between the
A109 and the Iroquois as the difference between a
Ferrari and a Holden. “It’s a massive step in helicopter
technology, we have jumped several generations of
helicopters and so we have to get it right before they
become fully operational.”
THE NEED IS GREAT
Australia’s 46 MRH-90 multi-role-helicopters are now
being delivered, 24 MH-60R naval combat helicopters
will start arriving over the next year, and Tiger ARH
must surely reach IOC soon.
Will HATS be ready to produce pilots for them?
Credit: CoA / Christopher Dickson
2/05/13 3:50 PM
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