“The gloves are off and we’re in trouble”
As I tumble further into the world of defence and aviation geekdom I found myself getting quite enthusiastic this week about a live simulation exercise presented by Rockwell Collins at its site in Toulouse.
Now to get your head round the various elements involved takes some time and you’ll be able to check out exactly what happened and its significance in my story on the Shephard website.
But for now here is a brief overview and some pictures to satisfy your sim and training needs.
The idea was to run two training scenarios involving joint terminal attack controllers (JTAC), a simulated C-130, a simulated F-35, an F-35 represented by a live Aero L-29 training aircraft flying over Iowa and a simulation of a UH-60 Black Hawk.
All the elements of the training scenario were located in different sites including Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Burgess Hill in the south of the UK; and Toulouse in the south of France.
With a live aircraft part of the demonstration timing was key and to give the press team credit they made herding journalists into the appropriate viewing area look easy.
Scenario one took place with the JTAC being dropped into position by the C-130, the JTAC then communicated with the ground controller to verify the target that needs to be prosecuted.
The two aircraft that carry out the attack are the two F-35s; one simulated in the dome in Burgess Hill and the other being represented by the L-29 in Iowa.
Once the attack is carried out and verified by the JTAC, a UH-60 then swoops in to pick him up.
While this is not one overall product that the company is offering, it demonstrates a high level of innovation and technology to offer to international militaries in the future as live, virtual and constructive (LVC) training becomes a more of a reality than just a set of buzzword thrown around trade shows and conferences.
Also because call signs are cool here is what each platform was using:
L-26 = Hawk 1
UH-60 = Pedro
F-35 = Rupin (apparently the pilots actual call sign when in the air force)
C-130 = Thrash
JTAC = Poncho 34
It is also worth noting that until eight days ago, the Rockwell Colliins JTAC was the longest serving JTAC in the UK armed forces with 13 years experience, serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and was leading the show at JFACTSU, the UK’s JTAC training house.