Ascent Flight Training, in collaboration with the MOD (it’s UK Military Flying Training System customer), is currently undertaking virtual reality trials at RAF Valley as part of the on-going development of innovative solutions for Fast Jet training.
The programme is looking at ways to improve the training on offer, increase the capacity of training courses, and to enable more students to be fast-tracked through the pipeline to the front line. Ascent is working in partnership with the MOD and Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), as well as working closely with their industry partners Lockheed Martin and CAE UK in trialling this innovative initiative.
The trials are using new Virtual Reality (VR) technologies, including upgrading some of the existing Lockheed Martin Flying Training Devices, as well as CAE’s Sprint VR trainer modelled on the T-6 Texan aircraft. By using enhanced ground based simulated flight experiences, it is expected that students will be able to gain skills faster and undertake training that cannot be easily replicated in the air, such as formation flying and combat exercises.
Further examples of innovative technology being trialled include 360 video capture and playback through VR headsets, and mixed reality. The programme will also evaluate the potential for virtual instructor student performance monitoring.
The results of the trials will be available this summer and then independently validated through academic peer review, with the outcome driving the design of future course design for the UKMFTS programme.
Tim James, Ascent Managing Director said: “I am so excited by this transformation project, a truly collaborative example of what we jointly can achieve by working in partnership with the RAF and D&ES teams, both at RAF Valley and wider. We aim to transform Fast Jet training and reduce the time it takes for our students to reach the front-line and defend the nation”.
Foto: View from Headset Eye Tracker (Crown Copyright 2021)
CAE Sprint VR Trainer – Student using VR equipment (library photo courtesy of Ascent)