Released on Thursday, January 15, 2009
Helicopter Flight Training Services inaugurates World’s first NH90 Full-Mission Simulator
Helicopter Flight Training Services (HFTS), a consortium owned equally by CAE, Eurocopter, Thales and Rheinmetall Defence Electronics, today officially inaugurated the world’s first NH90 full-mission simulator in its newly built facility in Bückeburg, Northern Germany, adjacent to the German Army Aviation School. HFTS will design, build and operate a total of three NH90 simulator training centres for what is presently the German Armed Forces’ largest private-finance initiative (PFI) programme for military aircrew training.
Robert Hollensteiner, Managing Director of HFTS, stated, “We are proud to have delivered our first NH90 simulator on time and we welcome our launch customer, the German Army Air Corps, to make full use of our facility and service. Indeed, this is a milestone in the NH90 helicopter programme, the largest ever launched in Europe. NH90 customers from many nations are attending our inauguration ceremony today, and I am pleased to announce that Finland and Sweden have decided to also train their NH90 pilots at the HFTS simulator facilities. We are fully committed to supporting the German Army Air Corps in turning their Bückeburg base and Aviation School into an international training centre for the NH90.”
HFTS was founded in December 2004 on the basis of a German government contract worth a total of €488 million in order to develop, build and operate four NH90 full-mission simulators and three training centres located in Bückeburg, Fassberg and Holzdorf. The start of operations in late 2008 will now be followed by a 14.5-year operational phase that extends through 2022. During the operational phase, HFTS will deliver turnkey training services, payable at an hourly rate, to NH90 customers.
Through this PFI programme, the German Armed Forces save operating and finance costs by eliminating the need for capital procurement and ongoing maintenance of an expensive infrastructure. The military customers pay for a turnkey training service that results in fully-qualified, mission-ready aircrews, since the responsibility for delivering the service and all the necessary equipment supporting the service lies with HFTS.
Simulator-based training has been proven efficient by the German Armed Forces for basic and recurrent training. Germany will be able to reduce the number of flight hours on the actual NH90 helicopter, thus providing significant savings while reducing wear and tear as well as better protecting the environment. The HFTS training programme for simulator-based pilot training will ensure the German Armed Forces of the quickest and most cost-effective availability of training for the NH90 helicopter.
The decision by the German government to proceed with privately-financed training for the NH90 is consistent with the trend for governments to consider this approach for military training requirements. The services provided by HFTS also fit perfectly to the requirements of other NH90 customers, as demonstrated by Finland’s and Sweden’s decision to utilize the facility in Bückeburg.
The NH90 full-mission simulator is comparable to Level C according to JAR FSTD 1H standards. It includes a full-motion system with six degrees of freedom, an instructor station, simulation of all systems and optional equipment solutions, avionics system and full replica of the NH90 cockpit, sound system, OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) simulation data package and a visual system field of view of 200° horizontal and 60° vertical daylight/dusk/night. The visual database features detailed environmental visuals as well as realistic 3D moving models and full correlation between databases.
The full-mission simulator guarantees the most representative synthetic environment of the NH90 and the latest aircraft configuration, with through-life upgrades, based on a Eurocopter data package and flight loop software using genuine aircraft manufacturer software. Flight profiles will be adjustable to any customer’s mission profile and environment.
HFTS - Helicopter Flight Training Services
JAR - Joint Aviation Regulations
OEM - Original Equipment Manufacturer
PFI - Private Finance Initiative