T-7A trainer jet's "real-as-it-gets" flight simulator enters production
Boeing has begun production of the “real-as-it-gets” ground-based training system (GBTS) flight simulator of the US Air Force's new T-7A Red Hawk training jet. For immersive realism, each unit features dynamic motion seats and the Boeing Constant Resolution Visual System’s 8K native projectors, which have 16 times the resolution of a 1080p high-definition video screen.
It's one thing to build a trainer jet, but before student pilots can take the controls of an aircraft designed to simulate the characteristics of a next-generation supersonic fighter, they have to be certain that they won't plow the plane into the turf on takeoff. For this reason, fledgling pilots first need to practice what they've learned on a ground simulator before sitting in the cockpit of the real thing. Even then, they still need to learn a great many things on how to handle a fighter jet.
To address this problem, Boeing has developed the GBTS, a training system that not only includes ground-based simulators, but also digitally connects to an actual T-7A trainer aircraft for embedded training scenarios. The GBTS is based on an open systems architecture of both hardware and software to allow for easy upgrading over the service life of the T-7A Red Hawk jet, which is being developed by Boeing and Saab. Under a US$9.2-billion-dollar contract, an initial order of 351 aircraft and 46 simulators, plus ground equipment, will replace the US Air Force's aging fleet of half-century-old T-38 Talon trainers.
"This is the most accurate, immersive experience that any pilot can have outside the aircraft," says Sherri Koehnemann, T-7A Training & Sustainment director at Boeing Global Services. "We’ve integrated the training across the board, including ‘one push’ software updates. What a pilot sees in the classroom, on his or her desktop training devices, and in the operational and weapon systems trainers will be what they see in the jet. Future pilots can expect more holistic, immersive training."
The first two weapons systems trainers and an operational flight trainer are currently being built at the Boeing's St. Louis, Missouri, site, with the first T-7A Red Hawk simulators due to be delivered to the Air Force in 2023.