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BAE Systems is speeding up the training process of pilots and engineers using gaming technology in an innovative application of virtual reality and simulation. Some of the latest gaming technologies, including commercially available interactive headsets and gloves, are being used in conjunction with advanced military aircraft simulators and F1 engineering at BAE Systems’ new cockpit development and training facility.
The £2.3M Training and Simulation Integration Facility (TSIF) at Warton, Lancashire, UK, has been developed in collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering and contains simulation capabilities for multiple aircraft types including BAE Systems’ Hawk, Typhoon and future concept aircraft, co-located and connected under one roof.
According to BAE’s website, the TSIF provides an innovative and immersive environment for pilots, customers and engineers to analyse, evaluate and experiment with the next generation of military aircraft cockpits and future training solutions.
The different technologies demonstrated in TSIF include:
- A Next-Generation Training Cockpit designed in collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering which harnesses advanced F1 technologies and engineering know-how. A twin-seat cockpit simulator can be reconfigured to resemble a range of training and fast jet cockpit environments and allows users to trial the latest in human machine interfaces
- An Augmented Reality Environment which utilises virtual and augmented reality technology to create a fully immersive 3D environment for engineers and pilots to enhance their aircraft maintenance and training skills in complex environments
- A Classroom of the Future featuring wall to wall interactive displays allowing trainees to ‘virtually’ tour the body of an aircraft utilising a number of synthetic training aids designed to enhance the learning experience, reduce the reliance on expensive physical tools and increase the rate of learning
- A Networked Synthetic Environment which employs a suite of high-speed desktop simulators for multiple aircraft types including Hawk and Typhoon, all connected via a dedicated engineering network. The technology allows pilots and engineers to train together in a synthetic environment and simulate a range of realistic mission training scenarios involving multiple aircraft types.
Craig Wilson, Managing Director for Williams Advanced Engineering, said the company uses technology transferred from its origins in Formula One, where simulation and training are of the utmost importance. “As technology improves and becomes more accessible it’s only natural for training techniques to evolve also, and those training in this facility will do so having access to cutting-edge toolsets.”
TSIF forms part of a wider investment in training from BAE Systems which will see the company invest more than £10M in training and simulation facilities at its Warton site. A new Mission Systems Integration Facility is planned to open in 2017 for future concept aircraft testing and evaluation, to be co-located with TSIF.