Joint simulator training will enhance squadron interoperability and take pilot training to the next level but could also pose a threat to national security if mission critical information is not kept secure.

Speaking at the Military Flight Simulation conference in London this week, defence advisor and head of marketing for Aviation Training International Limited (ATIL) Mike O’Donoghue said that linking training simulators together will improve a trainee pilot’s ability to operate with other aircraft in a real world battle environment.

“Training pilots to fly using simulators is easy, what is much more difficult is training pilots to fight as a squadron,” O’Donnoghue said.

“Linking simulators will give pilots the opportunity to practise operations and tactics with the rest of their outfit and other military assets.”

However, its success will depend on how security tight procedures are.

“The scope and scale of joint training will depend on whether sensitive military tactics and systems information can be kept secure across networks,” said O’Donoghue.

The ATIL currently uses joint simulator training for its Apache AH mk1 helicopter pilots via the distributed synthetic air land training simulators, which use multi-purpose display trainer interfaces to provide pilots with a synthetic environment in which to practise mission training.

It uses a high bandwidth, encrypted wide-area network to protect high-security information over the network between the three aircrew training centres at Middle Wallop, Dishforth and Wattisham.

The British MoD’s joint multi-national interoperability network, a secure national high-speed data highway, is also used to protect information sharing with other military assets including the medium support helicopter aircrew training facility at RAF Benson and the command and tactics trainer at Warminster.

“Eventually, we hope to extend the simulator links even further,” O’Donoghue said.

“The potential is there to link simulators with coalition forces in other countries. At the moment, however, we are concentrating on linked mission training with other UK assets only.”

The ATIL uses the training through distribution simulation capability concept demonstrator programme to link the Apache simulator with the Typhoon and Tornado aircraft simulators as well as with UK naval systems and forward air control.

By Daniel Garrun.