Ascent was contracted in June 2008 to supply the Advanced Jet Training System for the BAE Systems Hawk T2 aircraft.
The system comprises the training system design including Computer Based Training (CBT) / Computer Aided Instruction (CAI), new infrastructure, Ground Based Training Equipment (GBTE), a Training Management Information system (TMIS) and instructional staff all to be located at RAF Valley in North Wales.
The infrastructure includes a new Squadron Headquarters which will be a completely self contained facility that will also house the GBTE. The GBTE comprises of two Full Mission Simulators (FMS), 6 Flight Training Devices (FTD), 10 Desk Top Trainers (DTT) and Mission brief/debrief facilities. Associated with the Squadron HQ will be a forward maintenance hangar that will house the Hawk T2 aircraft.
The AJT programme is approaching several major milestones on its way to delivering the first MFTS student course in November 2011. Formal handover of the infrastructure from the prime contractor Babcock, to Ascent was achieved on November 1st 2010.
The Hangar will house the 28 Hawk T Mk2 aircraft that provide the exciting new training aircraft for the MFTS course. Many of these Hawk aircraft are currently in storage at RAF Shawbury and will return to RAF Valley as soon as their accommodation becomes available. The Squadron building will house 19(F) Sqn, the tactical weapons training unit at RAF Valley, along with all of the classroom and synthetic training facilities.
The second major milestone comprises the delivery of the first Full Mission Simulator (FMS), six Flight Training Devices (FTD) and ten Desk Top Trainers (DTT) by 16th Jan 2011. Over the next 6 months the entire suite of synthetic training devices will be installed and tested at RAF Valley. The DTT allows the student pilot to take his Personal Learning Device (PLD) and dock it with a Hands on Throttle and Stick (HOTAS) control from the Hawk aircraft. The student pilot is then able to interact with a computerised aircraft model on his PLD, using the HOTAS controls.
The FTD is a part task trainer, produced by Lockheed Martin, which houses two re-hosted mission computers from the T Mk2 aircraft. This system allows the student pilots to practice all of their checks and procedures as well as rehearsing missions in a realistic synthetic environment that covers the majority of UK airspace and airfields.
CAE, based in Montreal Canada, are producing two FMS. These utilise a ‘dome’ visual display with fully immersive projection, together with g cueing systems to provide realistic training for each student pilot against a multitude of other synthetically generated aircraft. In the future these FMS will provide the majority of the training in the student operational scenarios, including simulation of synthetic radar, surface to air missile, air to air missile and decoy systems.
All of this training will be provided with ground instruction by Ascent Qualified Instructors (QI) and RAF Qualified Flying Instructors (QFI) in the air. All of these milestones present a challenging, exciting and thoroughly rewarding next twelve months.
The MFTS buildings are due to be opened by a VIP ceremony in December 2010. The Squadron building will be named the ‘Moran’ building after Air Chief Marshall Sir Christopher Moran who visited the building on one of his final formal engagements prior to his untimely death in May 2010.