The Medium Support Helicopter Aircrew Training Facility (MSHATF) has been developed by CAE in consultation with the U.K. Ministry of Defence (MoD). Responsible for the design, construction and financing of the facility that opened in 1999, CAE operates the MSHATF under a 40-year private finance initiative (PFI) contract.
Customers training at MSHATFThe MSHATF delivers the total spectrum of synthetic aircrew training demanded by the Royal Air Force (RAF) Support Helicopter Force. The training facility is equipped with a total of six full-mission simulators: three CH-47 Chinook, two AW101 Merlin, and one Puma. Under the terms of its PFI contract, CAE also has the ability to provide turnkey training to third-party users. This enables approved military and civil operators across the globe to take advantage of the advanced simulation, training and mission rehearsal capability at the MSHATF on a highly cost-effective basis.
Other NATO nations and wider alliances are also increasingly regarding the MSHATF as part of their normal training regime. The Royal Netherlands Air Force and Australian Army Aviation Chinook crews routinely train alongside their RAF counterparts before operational deployments. AW101 (or EH101) operators such as the Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Danish Air Force, and Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force use the advanced Merlin simulators for a range of training applications, including battlefield and search and rescue (SAR) roles. The MSHATF also offers Puma helicopter training to a customer base including the RAF and several Middle Eastern air forces.
Distributed mission trainingCAE's capability in networking technology has made possible the practice of distributed mission training at the MSHATF. Key to this is the tactical control centre, which is capable of providing up to 500 computer-generated entities over the network. These include friendly as well as hostile land, sea and air platforms. Instructors can exercise off-board control of the simulators. Virtually any type of mission can be staged, from single aircraft tactical training scenarios and specific mission rehearsals, to complex multi-aircraft exercises set in different parts of the world. Realistic ground, sea and air battlefield replication, complete with sounds and impact effects, tests the ability of aircrews while providing an opportunity for commanders to develop their skills.
The MSHATF also supports a wide area network (WAN) gateway that allows for the networking of other remote training devices. A connection to the U.K. MoD high-speed national secure data highway will enable networked training to be carried out with other military training centres.