L-3 Communications recently announced the award of a contract option from the U.S. Air Force’s Aeronautical Systems Center to provide upgrades to the Predator Mission Aircrew Training System (PMATS)built by L-3 Link Simulation and Training (L-3 Link).

This new award calls for numerous software enhancements related to the MQ-1 Predator Operational Flight Program (OFP), upgrades each PMATS ground control station to the next generation hardware configuration and includes the addition of Multi-Spectral Targeting System Low Light Television and sensor fusion capabilities.

PMATS units are used to train Predator aircrews to operate the long endurance, medium altitude unmanned aircraft that conducts armed reconnaissance and interdiction missions. Each PMATS ground control station accurately replicates mission environments that Predator aircrews will experience in real world operations.

“To ensure training effectiveness, Predator training systems must remain concurrent with operational upgrades made to the platform,” said Mike Wallace, Vice President of Air Force and Navy Programs at Link Simulation and Training. “This major upgrade will ensure that PMATS units meet this concurrency objective while providing the US Air Force’s Predator aircrews with exacting training systems that continue to deliver highly realistic mission simulation.”

As a result of OFP enhancements, PMATS units will maintain concurrency with the MQ-1 Predator platform. By adding Low Level Light Television and sensor fusion capabilities to each PMATS unit, the upgraded training devices will provide Predator pilots and sensor operators with the detailed low light imagery and fusion of separate multi-spectral targeting system video sources that aircrews normally would view during the conduct of actual missions. Improved video downlink degradation effects will also enhance Predator pilot and sensor operator training by enabling the aircrew to quickly identify and respond to potential data link malfunctions.