Stewart Penney/RAF BENSON

CAE Aircrew Training Services (ATS) is seeking third-party customers for its Medium Support Helicopter Aircrew Training Facility (MSHATF) at RAF Benson, in the UK.

MSHATF is the synthetic training centre for UK Royal Air Force Boeing Chinook, EH Industries Merlin and Westland Puma support helicopters. Opened late last year, MSHATF has five of its six planned simulators and has began training operations.

CAE ATS managing director Brian Symes says talks have begun with potential third-party customers for the ground school and simulators. The CAE-owned MSHATF is funded as a private finance initiative, giving the company the opportunity to increase revenues by marketing excess capacity to other customers.


Symes declines to name those interested in using the facility, but it is believed the Royal Netherlands Air Force is discussing Chinook training, while a commercial customer is considering using the Merlin simulator for EH101 training.

CAEATS is also monitoring the Nordic Standard Helicopter Programme, under which Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden plan a combined purchase of helicopters for varying roles and require a joint training facility. MSHATF is being used as an example of what can be done, rather than being marketed to the Nordic nations, Symes says.

Meanwhile, CAE expects delivery of the first simulator equipped with Evans & Sutherland's (E&S) Harmony image system by year end. Because of delays with Harmony development, the first five simulators at RAF Benson are equipped with E&SESIG-4350 visuals. Symes says CAE is working with E&S to integrate Harmony into the second Merlin simulator, which is being completed. The system will then be retrofitted to the simulators already in place.

Source: Flight International