Ascent Flight Training, in collaboration with the UK Ministry of Defence, is currently undertaking virtual reality trials at RAF Valley as part of the on-going development of innovative solutions for Fast Jet training.
The program 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), and has Lockheed Martin and CAE UK as industry partners.
“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,” said Tim James, Ascent Managing Director. “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”.
The trials use 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 trialed include 360 video capture and playback through VR headsets, and mixed reality. The program will also evaluate the potential for virtual instructor student performance monitoring.
The results of the trials will be available this summer and will then be independently validated through academic peer review, with the outcome driving the design of future course design for the UKMFTS program.
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