Cockpit F-35

Dutch Space and the National Aerospace Laboratory of the Netherlands (NLR) will present the ‘Embedded Combat Aircraft Training System’ (ECATS) at the I/ITSEC conference in Orlando, Florida, from 2 to 5 December 2013. ECATS is a training simulation program that will be built as standard feature into the F-35. It provides fighter pilots with a possibility to exercise combat scenarios with virtual air and ground opponents during a training flight. Using ECATS it is possible to train the extensive capabilities of the F-35 anywhere and at any desired time more realistically, more effectively and more efficiently.

The latest addition to ECATS has opened up the possibility integrate flight simulators and other Live, Virtual and Constructive training assets in the training flight. ECATS can either be used as part of a larger LVC system capability or stand-alone on single ship or multi ship training flights without any need for ground infrastructure.

Dutch Space and NLR have prepared together with Lockheed Martin a Live-Virtual-Constructive (LVC) demonstration for the I/ITSEC 2013. ECATS is an important part of the new LVC training system of Lockheed Martin. Integrated LVC systems are the training systems of future. By integrating real weapon platforms with simulators and computer-generated opponents through ECATS, it is possible to make optimum use of advanced training facilities, with the aim of providing better and cheaper training.

For the development of the system Dutch Space and NLR used their in-depth knowledge of aircraft systems and simulations and their multidisciplinary approach to training programs. The organizations have been working together since the late 1990s on Embedded Training products for LVC applications in support of the 4th and 5th generation fighter pilot community. At the start of 2009 Lockheed Martin gave the green light for the implementation of the ECATS embedded training system in the F-35, resulting in delivery in 2012.

Smart Bandits: combat training with intelligent opponents

NLR will also be presenting at I/ITSEC the ‘Smart Bandits’ training system for combat aviators. The system simulates intelligent opponents who exhibit human behavior. This makes the way opponents behave more realistic and increases the value of training.

Tactical missions presuppose that aviators adapt their tactical plans to the prevailing situation and anticipate the behavior of opponents: where are my opponents located and what tactical plan of attack will they use? Until recently virtual opponents exhibited ‘one-dimensional’ and pre-programmed behavior. With Smart Bandits, NLR is introducing virtual opponents who respond autonomously and who independently take realistic decisions.

NLR developed Smart Bandits by drawing on its exceptional expertise in the field of simulation techniques, training programs and behavioral psychology. Smart Bandits has been extensively tested in NLR’s Fighter 4 Ship research and training facility.