Kratos Defense & Security Solutions has launched an upgrade to its mixed-reality helicopter aircrew training system.
The system now integrates with a simulator designed to train ground personnel, such as forward observers and combat controllers, the company said on 16 November.
Kratos is pitching the connected simulators as a more-realistic and cheaper way to train helicopter crews and their ground counterparts on missions such as aerial assaults.
The Aircrew Combat Mission Training system is a helicopter frame inside several connected shipping containers from which aircrew wearing virtual-reality headsets can jointly practice simulated missions.
“The aircrew performs their assigned duties in the physical aircraft outfitted with seat-shaker technology, weapon recoil and wind-loading to mimic vibration and forces of aerial weapons employment during flight,” says Kratos. “The entire aircrew performs highly realistic virtual air interdiction, air assault and close air support mission scenarios. Simultaneously, the helicopter flight engineers work physical weapons while firing at virtual air and ground targets.”
Integrating the aircrew training system with its Ground Party Simulator result in simulations that more-closely resemble actual combat, the company says.
The integration allows “ground personnel – including joint terminal attack controllers, forward observers, fire teams and combat controllers – to collectively train with their aircrew as they would engage with them in live-fire situations”, says the company. “In this mixed-reality environment, the aircrew and ground party train together, experiencing the sights, sounds and haptics of simulated combat missions, while saving the cost of flight time, fuel, ammunition and more.”
Because the simulators are built inside shipping containers, the systems can be broken down and shipped to sites as required by customers, the firm says.
Kratos’ Aircrew Combat Mission Training system can simulate Bell UH-1 or Sikorsky UH-60 helicopters. “When configured for the [UH-1], it can simultaneously train up to two pilots and two flight engineers at their crew positions in the same immersive environment,” the company says.
Practising on the systems helps air crews become more effective at executing certain missions and better able to anticipate, recognise and react to threats, says Kratos. Training programmes can be customised for teaching crew coordination and aerial gunnery, plus rescue-hoist, cargo and sling, and combat mission operations, it says.