Simulation is becoming an integral part of every phase of training an Israeli Air Force (IAF) pilot goes through.
In the past simulators were another tool to improve capabilities of a pilot.
New simulators, or rather simulation systems, are a valued substitute for many of the actual flight hours that in the past were a must for training a pilot for operational behaviour.
The IAF has selected the Aermacchi M-346 as its advanced trainer.
Elbit Systems is developing a flight training centre for the new aircraft. This is a good opportunity to see how far simulation has penetrated areas of flight training.
The Israeli company was awarded the contract to develop the centre as part of the contract awarded by the Israeli ministry of defence to TOR, which is jointly owned by Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
TOR was established to carry out the IAF's future trainer aircraft programme for the Aermacchi M-346.
With the introduction of the M-346, more emphasis will be given to ground-based training for the IAF's flight school cadets, combat pilots and navigators.
The ground-based centre is expected to begin operation in mid-2014.
According to Elbit Systems, once ground-based training is completed, the cadets will proceed to airborne training using embedded virtual avionics, which allows the trainee to gain vital experience operating advanced systems, such as radar, optical sensors and early warning systems, as well as virtual weapons.
The simulation that the IAF will be using for the M-346 will be in addition to other simulation tools that are already being used for other types of aircraft including the IAF's frontline fighter aircraft, the F-15s and F-16s.
Training for IAF pilots has completely changed thanks to the very advanced technology that brings the outside, real world into closed quarters.