Tiger Helicopter operated by the Australian Army
Professional Projectors – On September 5th, The Thales Group (Neuilly sur Seine, France) announced that it had successfully delivered a significant upgrade to the Australian Tiger helicopter simulator using Barco F35 projectors.
The improvements to the full flight mission simulator’s (FFMS) visual display system (VDS) mean the Australian Tiger simulator now has the highest levels of ‘out of the window’ realism of any Tiger FFMS in the world.
Thales worked closely with prime contractor Airbus Group Australia Pacific and Australian Army Aviation and successfully completed the complex upgrade of the dual-dome simulator ahead of schedule in order to minimize simulator downtime.
Dual-dome simulator for the Tiger Helicopter
The latest generation Barco F35 projectors (formerly known as projectiondesign F35 projectors) and a new PC-based Image Generators were both added and seamlessly integrated into the existing host computers and visual display platform, providing the crews with 240° horizontal x 85° vertical field of view.
The Tiger helicopter was built by Eurocopter, recently renamed Airbus Helicopters. The helicopter is a two seat tandem configuration aircraft, similar to the US Apache helicopter. Australia uses them for both attack and reconnaissance roles. In the simulator, the pilot and battle captain (in their separate domes) see the same scene, with the viewpoint slightly offset (horizontally and vertically) due to the seating arrangement of the actual helicopter.
According to Emmanuelle Le Fol at Thales, the Australian Tiger simulator had originally been built by Thales and delivered into service in December 2007. There are actually two domes forming the FFMS – one pilot dome and one battle captain dome. There are nine projectors per dome to achieve the 240° x 85° FOV. The domes can be linked to form one simulated aircraft, or operated independently.
The Barco F35 comes in a variety of configurations. According to Le Fol, the highest resolution version was used with each projector having WQXGA (2560 x 1600) resolution. Of the three available color wheels for the single panel DLP F35 projector, Thales used the VizSim Bright color wheel.
In the simulator before the upgrade, the image generator (IG) was running on SGI (Silicon Graphics) computers. They have been replaced by COTS PC computer with an up-to-date configuration.
In the final stage of the upgrade, the FFMS passed its recurrent fidelity check, which is required to maintain CASA FSD-1 Level 5 (Level D equivalent) accreditation. This is the highest achievable level and allows the Australian Army to conduct cost-effective training in the safety of the simulator. Australia uses the simulator for all types of mission training, pilot conversion, pilot currency and tactical training.
The Australian Army has posted a Recruiting Video on YouTube of the Tiger going through its paces. You can see why they would want to practice some of these manoeuvres in a simulator before they do it in the actual aircraft.– Matthew Brennesholtz