Air Force M&S

The Air Force faces particular challenges in the CF transformation. The Air Force is ­planning to transform itself to an “aerospace” force and an “expeditionary” force. The Air Force does have a strong tradition in both of these areas from its Second World War, NORAD and “peacekeeping” experience. However, it is facing the rust-out of its fighter, airlift, space surveillance and maritime capabilities.

Many have considered flight simulators for pilot training to be the “leading edge” of simulation. As the Air Force transforms, the demands for modeling and simulation support in other areas increase. This includes accelerating the acquisition process. We simply cannot afford another “Sea King Replacement” scenario.

In our last issue focusing on Army simulation (Vol.2:1), we had discussed some current trends in the complex field of M&S. FrontLine’s Air Force Simulation edition shows the exploitation of some of these trends, not only to enhance combat effectiveness in the operational training field, but also to deal with logistics and maintenance.

The exploitation of one of the M&S trends by the Air Force is demonstrating the use of the internet as a powerful and readily available tool to achieve networked simulations with simulators in various locations at minimal cost. As it is being extended to connect to other Air Force, Joint and Allied simulations using interoperability protocols, it demonstrates the trend to interoperability and “jointness,” not only in operations, but also in training and support.

The experience of Exercise First WAVE and the planning for “War in a Box” demonstrate the interoperability of NATO and joint simulations in a “virtual” real-time exercise. This is a significant achievement in itself and the very strong participation by the CF indicates the high regard that our allies have for Canadian capabilities in this field. This is essential as we embark on a future likely to be characterized by CF participation in coalition operations.

Air Force projects are taking advantage of the increased cooperative efforts among the services, allies, joint organizations, the R&D community, industry and the DND Materiel Group. One of the results of the combined efforts of all participants has been a large and growing repertoire of development tools, databases, protocols and standards. This will result in an acceleration of the progress of this dynamic field as developers and users benefit from the experience of previous projects.

In his 35 years of military experience, LCol (ret) Dennis (Doc) Hopper has been involved in operations and training with both Canadian and US Armies. As Director of Simulation and Training Systems for Simtran Technologies Inc. (now FATS Canada), he developed most of the missile and armoured vehicle simulators currently in service with the Canadian Army. Doc is presently a consultant in Ottawa and local rep for FATS.
© FrontLine Defence 2005