UK aircraft manufacturer Aeralis is developing a new kind of military trainer aircraft that will be compatible with advanced systems likely to be found in sixth-generation fighter jets.
The Aeralis military trainer aircraft will enable sixth-generation trainee pilots to put the skills they have learned in the classroom and through flight simulators into action including in challenging environments such as poor weather conditions or over difficult terrain.
One of the major features of sixth-generation aircraft, according to Aeralis, is the level of interoperability between the pilot and the aircraft itself. To this end, the Aeralis military trainer aircraft will help the trainee pilot to receive, interpret and report information while conducting live flying exercises.
Aeralis strategy director Tim Davies said: “Whilst concepts and designs for the next generation of combat aircraft are still being formulated, debated and tested, the Aeralis training system is leading the way in putting the pilot first and maximising his or her ability to fly and operate increasingly complex aircraft in preparation for the next evolution in combat aircraft system design.”
The trainer aircraft will also incorporate in-cockpit sensors that can track key metrics including eye movement and stress level indicators in order to monitor an individual trainee pilot’s progression and readiness.
Furthermore, the data that the Aeralis military trainer aircraft collects can be used to create an anonymous database of information on all trainee pilots, which the company says will significantly improve the efficiency of the future aviation training programmes, while helping to reduce costs overall.
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A handful of countries, including the US, Russia, China, the UK, France, Germany, and Japan, have announced their intentions to build their own sixth-generation fighter jets.
Davies told Airforce Technology: “Our pre-production aircraft is due to fly in early 2022 and we are also building a second variant as a pre-production avionics demonstrator so that air forces can experience the technology whilst on the ground.
“We have spoken to many nations’ defence staff who have shown a healthy interest in our aircraft as have the Royal Air Force and we have been requested to keep them all informed as to our progress.”
While sixth-generation aircraft are likely to share similar technologies to fifth-generation aircraft, certain systems such as the sensors, communications and weapons systems will inevitably be more complex. Examples include the new laser and directed-energy weapons systems that Russia is looking to fit on its new MiG-41 fighter jet concept, and the integration of drone swarms to aid fighter jet operations.