A revamp of the US Army's flight training is gathering pace with the fielding of the first contractor-owned and operated simulators under the $1.1 billion Flight School XXI programme won by Computer Sciences (CSC) in September 2003.

The first Bell TH-67 flight simulators are being installed in a new facility in Daleville, Alabama close to the Ft Rucker training base. All 20 of the FlightSafety-built devices – seven full-motion operational and 13 fixed-base instrument flight trainers – are to be in place by year-end, allowing the army to eliminate flight training using the Bell UH-1 Huey and OH-58A/C.

The first five of 18 reconfigurable collective training devices have now been installed at Ft Rucker. These initial L-3 Link-built devices are essentially identical to the US Army's fielded aviation combined arms tactical trainer and are reconfigurable to represent the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, Boeing AH-64A/D Apache and CH-47D Chinook and Sikorsky's UH-60A/L Black Hawk. Six devices to be delivered next January will have higher fidelity.

CSC will this month follow its TH-67 work by beginning to install simulators for the other helicopter types. Plans call for 11 trainers for the UH-60, four for the OH-58D, three for the CH-47 and one for the AH-64D Apache Longbow. All 57 training devices are to be operational by 2008, with the first 31 to be delivered in just 10 months.

Once the simulators are in place CSC will begin providing the army with around 61,000h a year of TH-67 training and more than 127,000h a year for the other helicopters, says PJ Penny, CSC programme manager, Flight School XXI. The ratio of simulator to flight training under the new programme will be close to 40%, he says. The goal is to provide crews that are fully trained in the "go-to-war" aircraft, and are ready for collective training at their frontline units.


Source: Flight International