|Helicopter crewmembers try out the virtual reality environment of Virtalis’ HCR training system. Virtalis|
UK-based Virtalis has provided three helicopter crew reality (HCR) systems to the Defence Helicopter Flying School and FB Heliservices. The HCR units are operational at the Royal Air Force (RAF) Shawbury and Valley stations. HCR allows the school to train pilots and crew for three armed forces in the UK. According to Commander Mike Greenland, chief flying instructor, Virtalis can “see at once whether the crew are scanning correctly and using the right techniques. There is a microphone system built into the HMD, so we can talk to the students.” He added that the HCR includes engine noise during communications to simulate the same conditions the crew would face trying to communicate in flight. Computer-generated 3D models of the area around RAF Shawbury and RAF Valley are programmed into the HCR to practice missions and the system can be adjusted for emergency landing training. Shadows and wind movement over land and water are also incorporated so that crews can conduct visual cue communication scenarios.
|Sgt. Weston Williams of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade sits in UH-60 Black Hawk gunner’s seat at the non-rated crew member manned module, which recently went online at Fort Campbell. The simulator also allows crew to train for sling load and hoist operations in the UH-60 and Boeing CH-47 Chinook. Megan Locke, Fort Campbell Courier|
The U.S. Army’s 101st Combat Aviation Brigade has incorporated cutting-edge virtual reality technology for Boeing CH-47 Chinook and Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk training at Fort Campbell, Ky. The non-rated crew member manned module (NCM3) uses virtual reality glasses that were made specifically for Army trainees to practice gunnery tasks and sling load/hoist operations. NCM3 can link with the unit’s aviation combined arms tactical trainer so that crew chiefs and soldiers can communicate with the pilot across different simulators. Pilots can also simulate various weather conditions and lighting situations. “It creates thunderstorms, and … you can actually hear the thunder,” Sgt. 1st Class Richard Madill told Megan Locke of the Fort Campbell Courier, adding that users can “see the lightning.”
Boeing CH-46E Sea Knights, Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallions, Bell UH-1Y Venoms and AH-1Z Vipers with the Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 268 (Reinforced), 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit have completed long-range training exercises. The training involved the ground combat unit flying from the USS Makin Island 130 miles inland, to a simulated terrorist training camp. The unit set up a refueling station in Paso Robles, Calif. for the exercise. The MEU is preparing for deployment to the Western Pacific and Middle East.
AgustaWestland and CAE consortium Rotorsim has launched a joint NH90 training program (JNTP) for the Netherlands Ministry of Defence. The facility will include an NH90 full mission flight trainer (FMFT) that can be set up for the NH90 tactical transport (TTH) and NATO frigate helicopter (NFH) variants. Rotorsim has received Level C qualification for the TTH version from the Netherlands Ministry of Defence and its Military Aviation Authority. Level D qualification is expected in early 2012. In addition to Netherlands military training, the FMFT will be used for third-party operators, including the Royal Norwegian Air Force and the Royal New Zealand Air Force. The agreement also involves a multi-year contract for Rotorsim to operate and maintain the NH90 simulators.
Elbit Systems of America has received a $23-million maintenance contract from the U.S. Army for its aviator night vision imaging system/head up display (ANVIS/HUD). The indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract follows a prior IDIQ agreement for ANVIS/HUD depot level repairs. Maintenance on the systems will run until 2016 at Elbit’s facility in Talladega, Ala.
Under a separate contract, the company has won a Boeing Military Aircraft bid to supply color helmet mounted displays (HMD) for the Bell-Boeing CV-22 Osprey. Work on the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command-operated V-22s will take place at Elbit’s facility in Fort Worth, Texas.
In addition to the new contracts, Elbit has opened a repair facility with the Netherlands Ministry of Defence. The avionics hub will be part of the Logistic Center Woensdrecht in support of the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF).
Quebec, Canada-based Presagis has released version 11.0 of its HeliSIM software, along with FlightSIM 11.0 for fixed-wing aircraft. The latest updates include a user-interface framework for Linux and Windows platforms, allowing operators to create unique environments for specific training needs. The HeliSIM upgrade also includes a new attack helicopter model of the Eurocopter Tiger.
U.S. Marines Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161 (VMM-161) employed its Bell-Boeing MV-22B Osprey to test newly designed landing pads (below) as part of a confined area landing exercise. The pads help diminish the effects of brownouts when visibility is limited due to dirt and dust clouds. The exercise took place October 20 near USMC’s Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif. The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing will use the pads to train for confined area landings in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan.
|Soldiers from the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, hook up an M119A1/A2 Towed Howitzer and an A-22 cargo bag to a Sikorsky UH-60. Sgt. Mary Katzenberger|
The U.S. Army’s Quartermaster School in Fort Lee, Va., has completed a mobile sling load inspector certification course (SLICC) for the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Stewart, Ga. The course trained soldiers on basic sling load operations, including certification to inspect sling-loaded cargo on Boeing CH-47 Chinooks and Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks. During the four-day course—with 40 hours of classroom time and one day of practical application training—soldiers prepped various pieces of battlefield equipment for helicopter pick up, including a Humvee and an M119A1/A2 Towed Howitzer. The soldiers also learned how to properly signal the helicopter crew throughout all phases of loading and equipment pickup. During the final portion of the course, soldiers hooked the Howitzer to a Black Hawk with an A-22 cargo bag.