Paul Derby/DUBAI

The US Army has awarded Raytheon a $30-million contract to develop a virtual combat training simulator for helicopter pilots.

The award for the unit, designed to give US Army and National Guard aviation units a realistic, high intensity training environment, was made by the Army's Simulation, Training and Instrumentation Command.

The technology will be incorporated into the Boeing AH-64A and -D model Apaches, the Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, the Sikorsky UH-60A/L Black Hawk and the Boeing CH-47D Chinook. A contract option also exists that would extend the simulator to cover the Army's next generation scout/attack helicopter, the Boeing Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche.

Based on a 'one army, one simulator' concept, the contract was awarded under the Army's Aviation Reconfigurable Manned Simulator (AVCATT-A) programme.

"AVCATT-A will enable the Army to enhance and sustain the skills of its helicopter pilots within simulated combat environments which present the challenge of interactive opposing forces," says Gary Nesta, Raytheon's director of flight simulation.

"During this era of increasing constraints on live field training exercises, it will also provide the ability to use simulation to affordably support improving pilot skills in the use of aircraft weapon systems."

Raytheon says the latest visual image generation will enable Army aviators to fight and train under a wide range of simulated conditions. These conditions, including battlefield smoke, blowing snow, dust or sand, are combined with temperature, wind, visibility and cloud ceiling information to replicate different environments.

Raytheon will use a simulator to mimic the wide range of Army helicopter platforms. A modified version of the flight-certified Advanced Visionics Systems helmet-mounted display it recently developed for the Army is to be introduced.

Source: Flight Daily News