LONDON — At the Farnborough International Airshow this week, AgustaWestland is formally handing over the first production model of its AW159 helicopter to the U.K. Ministry of Defence, and work is progressing rapidly on building the training infrastructure that will support it.
The twin-engine multi-role naval and utility helicopter, known in U.K. Royal Navy and Army service as the Lynx Wildcat, is a major development of the Lynx, which has seen extensive service with the U.K. and several foreign air arms since the 1970s.
Part of AgustaWestland’s contract with the U.K. Ministry of Defence for the Lynx Wildcat involves the design and development of an integrated training package. This includes the creation of a new training center for the type at its main initial operating base, Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton in southwest England.
Spanish IT company Indra is designing and developing three simulators for the Lynx Wildcat — two full mission simulators with six axes of movement and vibration generators, plus a fixed-base flight training device. The full mission sims are Level D machines, meaning they create conditions so realistic they can be counted as live training.
As part of its development program for the simulators, Indra has selected U.K.-based Christie to provide what the latter company describes as “a significant number” of its Matrix StIM LED-technology projection systems.
Indra staged a competition lasting over a year before settling on a projector supplier, with Christie’s involvement in the selection process being handled by Ingevideo, a Spanish partner specializing in simulation.
According to Juan Andrés García, Indra’s helicopters simulators director, a major factor in selecting Matrix StIM projectors was their capability in handling infrared simulation conditions.
“The sheer magnitude of the operation is incredible, probably one of the most important ever undertaken in Spain in the field of infrared military simulation,” added Ingevideo director Miguel Ángel Piqueras.
“This is a very important project, not just in terms of the number of units sold, but also because Indra is the most technologically advanced company in Spain,” said Marcos Fernández, Christie country manager for Spain and Portugal.
The Lynx Wildcat has an integrated flight software package that includes electro-optical imaging and electronic surveillance measures, as well as a self-defense suite. All these are reproduced and integrated in the simulators.
The training center’s simulators will be commissioned in 2013 for Army aircrew training and one year later for Royal Navy aircrew training.