UK increases synthetic training for C-17 fleet

Boeing Defence UK has been selected to provide the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) with synthetic training solutions for its C-17 Globemaster strategic transport aircraft, which were first introduced to service in 2001.

The £274m contract will provide training courses for RAF personnel operating the C-17 aircraft until 2040, according to a late-May announcement from the MOD. Alongside the continued training for pilots on the interactive C-17 flight simulators, maintainers will be provided with engineering training in order to diagnose faults and practice repairs without having to work on live aircraft.

The synthetic training contract will run through to the expected out-of-service date of the aircraft in 2040. UK MOD/Crown copyright

Defence Minister Jeremy Quin said: “This £274m investment will allow our air crews to operate this aircraft to its highest capability and maintain critical defence outputs and will extend our use of modern synthetic training techniques.”

The simulation training is based on real-life scenarios in a secure setting, enabling personnel to experience situations that cannot easily be replicated when training on live aircraft, the MOD stated.

The C-17 is capable of transporting over 45,000kg of freight more than 8,300km, and has an expected RAF out-of-service date of 2040.

At present, approximately 50% of all RAF combat air training is performed on synthetic devices. By 2040, the service expects to conduct 80% of all training synthetically, according to the MOD.