A replica cockpit of the Eurofighter is used to cut the amount of time required by technical trainees on the real aircraft. (Cassidian)
LONDON — German companies continued to win training contracts in January, with defense giant Cassidian snatching a multi-million dollar contract to deliver a new Maintenance System Trainer (MST) for the Eurofighter combat aircraft.
The new system is designed to train German Air Force technical personnel in the aircraft’s systems while minimizing the amount of time they have to spend on the real aircraft.
The 20 million euro ($27 million) contract was awarded by the German Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support. It follows an earlier training system and allows for training on the more modern Tranche 2 version of the aircraft.
The MST comes in two parts. The first is a PC-based simulator that can be operated either as an individual workstation or as part of a classroom network with 12 stations for trainees and one for the trainer. The second is a mock-up of the aircraft’s cockpit.
The MST is designed to simulate standard workflow procedures for maintenance and repairs, and also to imbue staff with complex systems knowledge, such as the correct procedures to detect, investigate and deal with faults. The MST can simulate several hundred different faults or problems, with trainees working to solve them either by themselves or under instruction.
Cassidian spokesman Claas Belling said that one major benefit of the MST is: “You don’t have to use the real aircraft for training.” He noted that airframes are limited “and you want to use them for operations, not training.”
The new system is being developed at the Military Air Systems Centre in Manching, near Munich, in co-operation with the Luftwaffe’s School of Engineering No1 at Kaufbeuren, southwest of the Bavarian capital. The MST will be installed at the latter location at the end of 2015.
Meanwhile, the Düsseldorf-based Rheinmetall received a three-year contract to train Kuwaiti personnel to operate its Skyguard air defense systems. Under the contract, Rheinmetall will build an unspecified number of training centers.
A spokesman said Rheinmetall was forbidden to give the contract’s value and the number of training centers to be built.
The spokesman said the contract holds strategic significance for the company because it indicates Kuwaiti plans to use Rheinmetall technology far into the future. The country has for many years operated Skyguard, a radar-directed 35mm cannon from Rheinmetall Air Defence, to protect infrastructure from air attack.