The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed a contract with Boeing Defence UK for a live, virtual and constructive (LVC) simulation capability.
The £36m (A$66m) contract will provide simulation technology to enable British pilots to replicate of three real-time scenarios simultaneously and independent of each other. The system – known as Gladiator – will be integrated with those of the US DoD to allow UK and US aircrews to allow joint training in the same environments against the same virtual threats.
“This synthetic training technology offers the RAF a cost-effective, powerful and safe way to prepare our aircrew for the complex threats they will face on the battlefield,” British Defence Procurement Minister, Stuart Andrew said in a statement. “The UK-US defence partnership is already the deepest and most advanced of any two countries and now our pilots will be able to train for the frontline more closely than ever.”
Gladiator will be located at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, and will initially be utilised by RAF Eurofighter Typhoon pilots flying virtual missions with counterpart aircrews in the US and with UK and US Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs). F-35B Lightning II missions are expected to be added in late 2021, while the E-7A AEW&C is also expected to be added in the future.
“This contract award signals the go-ahead for the core element of the Royal Air Force’s future synthetic training capability,” the RAF’s Senior Responsible Owner for the program, Air Cdre David Bradshaw said. “This new capability…will provide a step-change in the ability of our front-line Forces to train together in operationally realistic situations to meet an ever-increasing adversary threat.
“Combined with other programs that are delivering new aircraft simulators to front-line squadrons, Gladiator will allow aircrew to hone their skills, training with colleagues and allies. Our crews will be better prepared for a range of current and potential scenarios they may face. Gladiator is the pathfinder programme for similar synthetic training solutions planned across UK Defence.”
The system is expected to enter service in 2021, and the contract includes the design and manufacture of the simulation systems and software, and the first five years of support which is expected to sustain up to 40 jobs.