ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 1 (UPI) -- The British air force has begun training CH-47 helicopter crews to the MK4 standard with the help of CAE of Canada.
CAE, with headquarters in Montreal, said the training is being provided through an upgraded mission simulator at its Medium Support Helicopter Aircrew Training Facility in Great Britain.
The CH-47 Chinook simulator upgrade was done in parallel with upgrades on the air force's CH-47 Chinook fleet as part of Britain's JULIUS program.
"The Chinook helicopter fleet plays a vital role in the Joint Helicopter Command's mission and this upgrade to one of the CH-47 simulators is consistent with our objective to ensure training systems are concurrent with the platforms they simulate," said Wing Commander Al Dale, SO1 Simulation, Joint Helicopter Command, U.K. Ministry of Defense.
"We continue to perform more training and mission preparation in a cost-effective synthetic environment, so it is absolutely critical our simulators and training systems stay at the leading-edge of technology and capability."
Britain's Defense Ministry originally placed a contract with CAE to upgrade eight CH-47 Chinook Mk2 helicopters. It was expanded later for integration of the JULIUS cockpit into the remainder of the RAF's fleet of 46 Chinooks.
The JULIUS CH-47 upgrade program cockpit features an onboard mission planning system that proves crew with greater tactical flexibility. Included is the Thales TopDeck cockpit display and mission avionic system with four multifunction displays, two stand-by flight displays, updated communications interfaces and new air data computers.
The simulator upgrade includes forward-looking infrared, a new moving map and digitized instruments, upgraded onboard and ground mission planning systems that deliver more comprehensive tactical training to Chinook aircrews, CAE said.
"We completed the simulator upgrades in advance of the aircraft upgrades, thus enabling air force Chinook pilots to test and evaluate the new aircraft systems in the simulator," said Ian Bell, managing director of CAE Aircrew Training Services.
"This is an important upgrade for the air force's Chinook force and we are pleased that our long-term partnership with the Ministry of Defense allows us to continue adapting our training services. Our aim is always to ensure the British air force Joint Helicopter Command aircrews experience contemporary training relevant to current operations."
CAE's Medium Support Helicopter Aircrew Training Facility in Britain -- operated by CAE Aircrew Training Services -- provides training to the British air force and the military of other countries that fly AgustaWestland AW101 Merlin, Boeing CH-47 Chinook and Eurocopter Puma helicopters. It features CAE-built dynamic mission simulators, four computer-based ground school training classrooms and a tactical control center.
CAE describes itself as a global leader in modeling, simulation and training for civil aviation and defense.
The company announced the upgraded simulator at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference in Florida, the world's largest military simulation show.