With military pilot training shifting towards simulators and synthetic environments, Richard Thomas looks at the benefits and explores how the UK is adapting to this developing technology.
For much of the past decade, the UK military has been busy shifting its real-world pilot training into synthetic environments, looking to utilise simulators instead of expensive fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, whose precious flight hours are considered better spent elsewhere. To this end, it has spent hundreds of millions of pounds in a bid to reduce overall training costs and platform acquisitions, while prolonging aircraft service life.
Currently, around 50% of the RAF’s combat air training is conducted in virtual environments, with an expectation that this figure will have risen to 80% of all training being done synthetically by 2040. Indeed, in recent months, senior RAF officials have been keen to emphasise the need to embrace the age of digital training environments.