SU-30MKI, RAFALE SIMULATORS MUST BE NETWORKED FOR COMPLEX COMBAT SCENARIOS: IAF CHIEF
Across the country, IAF facilities have simulators for training pilots on the Rafales, Sukhois and other jets. However, these are standalone simulators and function individually, without connecting to the others
The Russian-origin Sukhoi-30MKI (more than 250 of them in the fleet) air-superiority fighter is the backbone of the Indian Air Force and the French-origin Dassault Rafale (36 in the fleet) is the latest, most-lethal fighter to be inducted into the Force (IAF).
Across the country, IAF facilities have simulators for training pilots on the Rafales, Sukhois and other jets. However, these are standalone simulators and function individually, without connecting to the others. They help pilots virtually perform take-offs, landings, day and night operations during adverse weather, mid-air refuelling etc.
Indian Air Force Chief VR Chaudhari said that there is an urgent need to modernize, integrate and network these simulators to perform complex combat scenarios, missions and manoeuvres, in a large-scale manner. He placed added emphasis on the need to “Train as we fight and fight as we train.”
It is understood that the existing IAF simulators can virtually create scenarios of multiple aircraft taking part in a mission. However, the major limitation is that only the primary plane (of the simulator) is operated by a pilot and the rest are all computer-generated.
Preparing and practising large attack missions can be done more effectively if multiple pilots (sitting on simulators across India) can virtually fly different types of fighter planes and take part in the same mission, via networked simulators.
Simply put, if one plays a war-based video game- the main character alone is controlled by the player and all the allies of the main character are computer-generated. However, in a multiplayer mode, different players can control their respective characters.
Addressing the International Pilot Training Symposium at Air Force Station Tambaram, Chennai, the Air Chief touched upon the convergence of cutting-edge technology in the aviation domain and how it has been creating more opportunities to learn and develop.
He referred to 5G connectivity, faster data rates, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR)and much more.
He spoke of how the Air Force needs to go beyond the traditional methods of training and think of student-specific training. “We must review our attitude towards learning and teaching” he said.
Air Force Station Tambaram, houses the Indian Air Force’s Flying Instructors School (FIS). The FIS is tasked to impart quality training to experienced Air Force pilots and mould them into extremely skilled Qualified Flying Instructors. At FIS, the flying skills and professional knowledge of these under-training QFIs are honed to enable them to undertake the arduous task of imparting flying training more effectively and efficiently.
The QFIs who successfully graduate from FIS are entrusted with the responsibility of training ab-initio pilots at flying training establishments and moulding them into future Air Warriors. The FIS was established in Ambala, Haryana, in the year 1948 and then moved to Tambaram, Chennai, in 1954. This year marks the Platinum Jubilee of the FIS.