Paris Air Show: Smarter sim usage for Swedish Air Force
The time spent by service personnel in the synthetic environment versus in real-life training scenarios should not be an either-or situation, the Swedish Air Force has said.
At an Arctic Challenge Exercise (ACE) 2019 press briefing in May, a Swedish Air Force spokesperson said that when speaking with politicians and government officials, it was always stressed for the need to ensure that there was no trade-off between flight hours and simulator time. ‘I want to make it crystal clear... I want to have simulator hours so I can use the flight hours more wisely.’
The simulation environment is pertinent to a trainee pilot’s development, the spokesperson shared. ‘If you look at close air support training – it is ten sorties in the air but I am sure you could do nine of them in the simulator. Too little of our training is done in the simulators [and] we are looking over that.’
Despite having a number of simulators at the various air force bases throughout the country, the spokesperson said that the real challenge is the fact that they are not connected and that through integration training opportunities for more tactical environment scenarios will be opened up.
On the current simulation status, the spokesperson said that 'we can do a lot of single pilot training, immersive training’.
Training for the Norrbotten Air Force Wing (F 21) pilots is performed through a variety of means, including flights in Saab 105 platforms, theory and other qualification requirements. The spokesperson said that once this is completed a trainee is assigned to a squadron of fighters or transportation.
For fighter training, as soon as a pilot learns how to touch down and take-off with the Gripen they are then sent to F 21 or F 17 (Blekinge Air Force Wing) where the rest of the training is completed. This process will take about one and a half years.
There is a rotational flow between the two squadrons one will receive a batch of trainees whilst the other portion completes its training. Student pilots, on average, will be achieving 120-140 flight hours per annum.
‘We only recruit eight pilots every year: four for fighters and four for transport. Then we have ten [pilots] for helicopters. That’s a flow that goes on year after year,’ the spokesperson commented.
The Swedish Air Force has cut down on international exercises, although it works closely on training and exercises missions with Finland and ACE by which Sweden participates on.
This has been shaped by recent events over the Baltic Sea involving a resurgent Russia, with Stockholm turning its focus more towards the region and the threats posed there.
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