Advanced simulators have been operated in the IAF flight academy

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The M-346 Simulator

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has recently began training new pilots on the advanced trainer aircraft, the M-346 “Lavi”. Flight hours are saved by using a very advanced simulator. Thus, the new simulator is not merely cost effective: it saves hundreds of thousands of USD each year, in fuel costs, operational use, engine hours, maintenance and so on.

According to the IAF, the new simulator enables them to cut the number of training flights down. Until now, the demand was such, that every IAF cadet will have perform 120 air missions as part of the training requirement throughout the duration of the course. From now on, the quantity will be reduced to 100. The new simulator will be used to compensate for the cut.

The new ground based training simulator (GBTS) was developed by Elbit Systems, together with Alenia Aermacchi from Italy, CAE from Canada and Sellex from Spain.

IAF’s new GBTS consists of two Full Mission Simulators (FMS) and two Operational Flight Simulators (OFS), all linked together. According to Elbit Systems, the simulator offers an experience that is almost identical or parallel to real flight.

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Both pilots and weapon systems operators (WSOs) are being trained in the simulator in a variety of issues, from basic familiarity with the aircraft they are training on to the highest level of combat flight competence. This training is based upon a new innovative concept where a high percentage of the syllabus is being practiced at the GBTS, with the trainees visiting the GTBS on a daily basis.

This form of comprehensive training solution was selected by the IAF after a process of feasibility tests and experiments. This solution is designed in such a way that the pilots and WSOs will be ready and qualified to progress directly to IAF’s 4th generation and 5th generation fighter aircraft (F-16, F-15, and F-35).

The IAF has many simulators in operation. Nevertheless, this one, already deployed in the new trainers’ squadron, is the most advanced. The reason being, it has to compensate for flight hours after the early stages in the process known as the “creation of a pilot.”