£53m Chinook Simulators Begin Training Crews

New purpose-built Chinook simulators have begun training crews to ensure they are permanently ready to deploy.

A new state-of-the-art training centre for Chinook helicopter crews has opened at RAF Odiham in Hampshire.

The Chinook Mk6 synthetic training facility is housed at the home of the RAF's Chinook Force.

Augmented reality technology allows Chinook crews to rehearse virtual missions as a whole-crew and practice the handling of the aircraft in a range of emergency scenarios, such as rotor blade damage or complex electrical emergencies. 

Aircrew are also able to undertake high-risk training operations, such as a battlefield re-supply mission, a medical evacuation in an urban area and also the relocating of troops.

(Picture: Lockheed Martin).
The £53m facility includes two Flight Deck Device simulators, a Rear Crew Device and a suite of Computer Based Training equipment (Picture: Lockheed Martin).

The simulator can also recreate night conditions and incorporate the use of night vision goggles. 

Defence Minister Mark Lancaster, said: “The Chinook Force has continuously proven itself by supporting humanitarian efforts, strengthening counter-terror operations and providing essential support to our Armed Forces.

"Our ability to put it to use will be bolstered by this multi-million-pound new training facility.

"Chinooks are the backbone of our battlefield helicopter capability so it’s crucial this capability and its crews are receiving this support into the next decade.”

Sergeant Ben Howard, 27 Squadron, RAF Odiham, who is a Weapons System Operator showed Forces News how the simulator works:

The facility will deliver around 4,000 hours of simulation each year over a decade, ensuring crews are at a permanent state of readiness to deploy, according to the Ministry of Defence. 

The Chinook is the UK’s only military heavy-lift helicopter and can transport up to 54 troops or 10 tonnes of supplies in support of operations.