As Germany deliberates over the replacement for the long-serving Panavia Tornado, the type continues to form an important part of the Luftwaffe’s inventory in both IDS and ECR versions. With an expected out-of-service date of around 2030, the requirement for Tornado aircrew remains high.
CAE is applying a major upgrade to the Luftwaffe’s Tornado simulators to not only provide for another decade-plus of training, but also to enhance the relevance of simulator training to the current standard of aircraft as the Luftwaffe seeks to increase the proportion of aircrew training that is conducted in the simulator beyond 50 percent.
Under the upgrade program, CAE is installing new computers to the simulators that were first introduced in 1982. A series of updates aims to bring them into concurrency with the aircraft itself, including the addition of elements such as night-vision goggle compatibility, laser designator pod, precision-guided weapons, and MIDS datalink.
Moreover, under a mid-2018 contract CAE is greatly enhancing the instructor operating system (IOS) to permit the change of tactical situations and the addition or role-play stations that can simulate offboard “players” such as GCI, AWACS, and forward air controllers. The first IOS is due to go live at the simulator at Büchel this fall.
Three full-mission simulators are operated by the Luftwaffe: one with Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 51 “Immelmann” at Jagel; one with TLG 33 at Büchel; and another that is being returned to Jagel from the former U.S.-located training unit at Holloman AFB, New Mexico. These simulators are expected to be reinstated as a live asset in 2021.
CAE also has three Tornado simulators loaned by the German government at its Stolberg factory/development center near Aachen. Two of them are in an “open” environment and are used for developmental purposes. The third is held in a classified shielded environment and tests the systems that are intended for operational use, employing the same systems as the aircraft itself.
Under its roadmap for the Tornado simulators, CAE aims to add networking capability and, within two or three years, merge the Tornado simulators into the Eurofighter Typhoon environment through the company’s PASE (platform-agnostic synthetic environment) technology, permitting networked joint force training. CAE is part of the consortium that provides and supports four full-mission sims and four cockpit trainers for Luftwaffe Typhoon training.
Elsewhere in Germany, CAE has 12 networkable simulators at the international helicopter training center at Bückeburg, which are being upgraded. Most of those currently configured for Airbus H135 helicopters are expected to be modified to become capable of H145M training using CAE’s roll-on/roll-off system, which allows different cockpits to be mated with a common “mothership.” The company also provides the simulators for the German navy’s helicopter training center at Nordholz.
In the immediate future, Germany is to select between the Boeing CH-47F Chinook and Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky CH-53K for a new heavy-lift helicopter to replace the current CH-53Gs. CAE is Boeing’s training partner for the CH-47F.