Elbit Systems is to begin construction work soon on a new networked simulator building for the Israeli air force's Lockheed Martin F-16I strike aircraft.

To be built at Hazor air base, the facility will include eight full-dome, high-definition simulators for the F-16I, with these also to be supplied by Elbit. The company will provide the training infrastructure under the terms of a 15-year private finance initiative contract, through which it will sell simulator hours to the air force.

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Israel's air force operates 101 F-16I strike aircraft

The commander of Hazor air base, who can be identified only as Col A, has disclosed the first details of the advanced training facility, which is scheduled to become operational during 2012.

The new simulators will enable combat formations to train in "very real conditions", he says, with two operator stations to be used by a "Red squadron" to inject adversary scenarios. The devices will be networked at the site, as well as with simulators installed at other Israeli air force bases.

Israel's small national airspace and budget limitations place heavy restrictions on the air force's ability to conduct such combat training, but "this facility will fully solve these problems", he adds.

Artificial intelligence capabilities will later be added to the facility's equipment, enhancing its ability to provide an alternative to real training flights. Complex training activities could also eventually see pilots on live training missions link with those using ground-based simulators, Col A says.

Flightglobal's MiliCAS database lists Israel's air force as having an active fleet of 101 F-16Is, which the service refers to as the "Sufa".

Source: Flight International