Teaching pilots how to fly an aircraft like Typhoon or F-35 in the air is expensive, and in the real world many situations simply cannot be replicated for training purposes.
We have been investing in simulation and synthetics, striving to deliver the most accurate experience for pilots outside of flying the aircraft itself. To bring added realism to the simulated environment, we have introduced ‘patterns of life’ data, making the battlespace more like the real world, full of background clutter.
Importing live positioning data from real passenger aircraft and replicating this in our simulator, allows us to reflect the challenges posed by air traffic during missions. By populating the simulator with real data from Typhoon aircraft and developing both concurrently, we ensure that pilots have the same experience whether in RAF Lossiemouth, RAF Coningsby or in the air on operational duty.
The ability of pilots to train together in the virtual world as they might in the real world, but from any location on any scenario, delivers a significant advantage to commanders.
Alison Heminsley, Lead Technologist for Simulation & Training, Air, BAE Systems.
We are working with leading gaming technology providers, as well as other commercial hardware and social media specialists, to provide a more cost effective and portable virtual reality simulator. Our ambition is to create a large-scale synthetic environment that can be ‘dialled into’ when needed from anywhere in the world with the relevant secure connection. This virtual environment will allow pilots to train together, run missions and work as a team wherever they are in the world. Connected to live aircraft on sorties, this approach would allow pilots to train alongside more experienced colleagues.
Alison Heminsley, Lead Technologist for Simulation & Training explained: “The ability of pilots to train together in the virtual world as they might in the real world, but from any location on any scenario, delivers a significant advantage to commanders.”
Taking data from other sources, such as air traffic control, and inserting it into the simulated environment is becoming more feasible thanks to artificial intelligence and the increasing availability of computing power. Novel methods of visualisation and haptics also enable us to start thinking about flight simulators using a console gaming philosophy.
Lessons learned in aircraft simulation can be utilised in a number of domains, where synthetic environments can be used to increase training capacity and/or reduce costs. New-found levels of realism provide a dynamic interactive experience that could otherwise be impossible to replicate.
Our Hawk and Typhoon virtual reality trainers are being demonstrated to customers for assessment and feedback throughout 2020.