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IAF to introduce simulators in training
Manash Pratim Bhuyan in Bidar | March 14, 2006 12:42 IST
As part of its efforts to minimise accidents and improve the quality of training of fighter and transport pilots, the Indian Air Force is set to introduce simulators in a big way soon.
"What we are doing now is introducing modern technology in terms of computerisation. We are moving towards the simulator process of training," Air Marshal B N Gokhale, chief of the training command, said in Bangalore.
With the help of simulators, pilots can experience different kinds of effects while sitting inside an artificial cockpit and can go in for various manoeuvres and combat profiles while staying on the ground, he said. He added IAF headquarters is in touch with Bangalore-based Macmet and other companies for building a simulator for Dornier aircraft.
Macmet has already developed a simulator for the AN-32 transport aircraft and pilots are being coached at the training command of the IAF in Bangalore, Gokhale said.
Group Captain G P Singh, Chief Instructor at the Fixed Wing Flying Faculty at the Yelahanka Airforce base, said simulator training allowed trainee pilots to fly to the desired limit, which is otherwise very risky on an actual aircraft.
Simulator training is considered safer and cost-effective as it does not involve putting a pilot and the machine at risk. "It saves on aviation fuel and cuts down the cost of operation to a great extent, besides limiting the rate of accidents during training," Singh said.
"We are extensively using simulators for the AN-32 aircraft. We can simulate almost everything we do in flying. So whatever you want to practice in air, you can actually practice on the ground," he said, adding that once trainees acquire proficiency in simulated flying, they are put on the real machine in phases.
The Bangalore-based Institute of Aerospace Medicine, which checks the physical fitness of aspiring pilots using simulators, also plans to import a high-performance high-dynamic centrifuge from Austria.
"In the new simulator, pilots will have the option to choose the aircraft they want to fly and configure it accordingly. They will even be able to choose their sortie profile as well as combat profile," said Group Captain V N Jha, chief research officer at the institute.
He said the simmulator will come to India in September 2008 and will cost Rs 70 crore. According to Gokhale, the IAF is supposed to receive four simulators, along with a batch of Hawk aircraft, in September 2007.
"Hawk simulators would make a major contribution to more effective training, especially for young pilots being initiated to fighter flying," he said.
In 2004, India had signed a Rs 8,000 crore deal with British Aerospace Systems to acquire Hawk 66 for the IAF.
Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee said recently in Parliament that out of a total of 793 MIG-21 aircraft, which were inducted into the IAF since 1963, 330 have been lost in accidents.
He had also said that during the financial year 2005-06, a total of nine accidents were reported, the safest record in the history of the Indian Air Force.