we can choose which scenario we want to train for and how we want the exercise to look
The system simulates a variety of scenarios for IAF aircrews using a ground-operated computer that communicates with the F-16I jets The virtual training system allows the soldiers of the F-16I Division to create training exercises that include a full range of threats: from surface-to-air missile batteries to air-to-air combat. The IAF site takes a look at the system that combines fantasy and reality
In recent years, IAF training has experienced an upgrade with the introduction of the virtual training system. The “One” squadron from the Ramon airbase, was the first squadron to start developing virtual training, which is also called layered training. In fact, it is a type of training built from different layers that, together, create a complex and challenging layout. “First of all, a training exercise involves a pilot and a weapons systems officer that need to perform a certain mission”, explains Captain Tal Yousef, Project Officer from the Equipment Department at IAF Headquarters. “Afterwards, you can add the different layers for training, such as the threat of surface-to-air missile batteries or air-to-air missiles during the mission. That is how more and more layers are added to the training exercise, until it becomes a big, complex exercise that is closer to reality”.
The system, which was developed by “Elbit System” in cooperation with the IAF, simulates a variety of scenarios for IAF aircrews using a ground-operated computer that communicates with the F-16I jets and in so doing allows the creation of new training scenarios at a higher level. “The world of layered training is a new training concept in the IAF that talks about a training exercise we prepare against a simulated enemy”, adds Major Dor, Deputy Commander of the “One” Squadron. “Until now, we had to coordinate training exercises against surface-to-air missiles that we had to move by hand from place to place. Nowadays, using a computer sitting in our squadron we can choose which scenario we want to train for and how we want the exercise to look. You can see the whole picture on the screen: where each plane is located, which battery to lock on, who was shot down and who managed to escape the threats. It allows us to train at a level we couldn’t have dreamt of just a few years ago”.
Saving Chaffs and Flares
In reality, when a combat jet comes up against a surface-to-air missile battery and enemy planes threatening to down it, it does so with the help of weapons at its disposal, complex maneuvers and accessories such as chaffs and flares. In a virtual training exercise, the need to perform maneuvers remains, but what about the chaffs and flares? “Before virtual training, during the training in which we had to employ chaffs and flares, we would load them on planes in order to deal with missile batteries and the rest of the threats present in the training”, explains Major Dor. “Today, we have a system in the plane that is capable of communicating with the system that generates simulations. That way, when I flick the switch that releases virtual chaffs and flares, they protect me against the threats the system creates, without releasing real accessories that I will need at the moment of truth”.