By ARIE EGOZI
Tel Aviv. Elbit systems scored another big success in its pilot training operation. The Israeli company was awarded a contract valued at approximately US$1.65 billion for the establishment and operation of the International Flight Training Center of the Hellenic Air Force, as part of an agreement between the Israeli Ministry of Defense and the Hellenic Ministry of National Defense. The contract will be performed over a period of approximately 20 years and will include price indexation.
Under the contract, Elbit Systems will supply new M-346 training aircraft and will maintain the entire training fleet, comprised of dozens of M-346 and T-6 training aircraft for a period of approximately 20 years. In addition, the company will provide its latest advanced Embedded Virtual Avionics (EVA) onboard the training aircraft, deliver networked flight simulators and an array of Ground-Based Training Stations (GBTS) as well as a command and control systems to enable efficient management of the flight training operation.
Bezhalel (Butzi) Machlis, President and CEO of Elbit Systems, said: “We are honored to have been awarded this contract to provide such an important capability to the Hellenic Air Force. This contract award attests to the leading position we hold in the area of pilot’s training solutions, providing tested know-how and proven technologies that improve operational readiness while reducing costs.”
This contract award follows several major programs and contracts that Elbit Systems has secured in recent two years including the selection to supply embedded training capabilities for the US Air Forces’ T-7 Red Hawk aircraft, a contract to provide the UK Royal Navy with a range of simulation capabilities, the delivery of a Brigade and Battlegroup Mission Training Center to the Israeli Defence Forces, a contract to supply helicopter flight simulation for the Italian Ministry of Defence, and others.
In addition, since 2016, Elbit Systems and its partner KBR, provide procurement, operations and maintenance services for the Royal Air Forces’ Basic Flying Training Program that operates dozens of aircraft of three different types in three Air Force bases in the UK.
Elbit built the mission training center (MTC) of the Israeli air force (IAF)
Each of the IAF’s fighter aircraft has a dedicated simulator – F-15 C, F-15 I and F-16 and F-16 I.
The simulator is a copy of a real cockpit and is located in big domes. The single simulators are operated in front of a 180 degrees picture projected on the dome. The connected simulators, the ones that simulate real combat missions to the smallest detail, are operated in a 360 video dome.
According to the IAF, the connected simulators save at least 14 per cent of flight hours, and in an air force that is flying 24/7 this is a big money saver.
Major General (Ret.) Eitan Ben Eliyahu, former commander of the IAF, said that the MTC enables to plan and simulate a combat missions to the smallest operational details pointing to all the threats and sensitive points.
“The pilot sees all the threats along the flying course to the target and all other relevant data. He can plan a mission based on this information.”
Such a capability is of critical importance in the case of Syria where Syrian soldiers operate alongside Russian ones.
According to Elbit Systems, the IAF MTC consists of eight simulation stations from the “Blue” squadron and another two for the “Red” one that is simulating the enemy.
The MTC is fully networked and supports full scale LVC (Live, Virtual, Constructive) training, based on standard protocols.
The system uses the Elbit quad HD generators and its Targo pilot helmet.
The MTC allows to train crews of exact versions of fighter aircraft operated by the IAF, F-16 C/D and F-16 I, and F-15 C/D and F-15 I. The cockpit of each version is built with attention to each specific system in it.
The different simulation cockpits are rolled in and out according to the specific training session.
According to Elbit, the MTC is based on a very advanced “arena generator” that is being updated continuously according to updated intelligence about the enemy, his capabilities and the threats he poses to fighter aircraft.
The MTC is connected to the IAF intelligence gathering and processing body, and when an attack is planned the most updated data is transferred to the MTC and when the pilots come to simulate the planned attack, they deal with an almost real time status of the threats.
-The writer is an international roving correspondent of the publication