Conclusions for Each Country
According to the results of the study helicopter fleets of Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia did not justify the purchase of any simulators. Luxemburg did not have a military helicopter fleet and thus did not support the establishment of a PFI helicopter simulator training center, either.
Belgium has already purchased a simulator for the A-109. This was the only helicopter type that justified the purchase of a training device. An SA-318 Alouette II motion simulator would have been underutilized. A training center could not be justified.
Bulgaria could support one device for the Mi-8 Hip helicopter type. The rest of the fleet could not support any devices, and thus Bulgaria could not qualify for a training center.
Czech Republic had the fleet to support a helicopter simulator training center for its Mi-8 Hip and Mi-24/35 Hind helicopters. The Mi-8 could support at least one motion simulator, and no more than two non-motion simulators. The total number of Hip training devices could not be more than three. The Mi-24/35 could support one motion and one non-motion simulators. The majority of the Hinds were delivered on January 2006 (Czech Republic Ministry of Defense, 2006). This means that the Hinds will remain in service for many years to come and the purchase of training devices could easily be substantiated.
At first sight, France seemed to have been using training devices for just a few of its helicopter types and there seem to be an inconsistency in simulator training. A closer look though revealed that the helicopter types that were not supported by simulators were either variants or derivatives of other existing helicopter types already supported by simulator training. Simulator training on such a type is easily transferred to the other one, and that eliminates the need for extra devices. An NH-90 FMS has been under construction at the HeliSim training center where French army training shall be conducted (Da Silva, 2007). Under those preconditions it would be unlikely for France to proceed to the establishment of a helicopter simulator training center.
Germany proved to be one of the most consistent countries regarding simulation training. The numbers predicted by the regression models where very close to reality proving that there is a pattern for purchasing simulators and a systems approach to their simulator training needs. A surprisingly high number of 8 motion simulators for a fleet of just 14 EC-135 helicopters has been partly justified by the EC-135 German Federal Border Police fleet (Abney, 2004). The numbers though suggest a high integration of simulation at the ab-initio stage of the German flight training.
Germany has already established helicopter simulation centers (Military Technology, 2005) and their expansion is more likely than establishing another one. This may happen after a new procurement, i.e. for the new heavy lift helicopter concept that will replace the ageing CH-53 fleet (Flottau & Taverna, 2004).
Greece had the fleet to justify an Apache FMS, an NH-90 FMS and a CH-47 non-motion training device. A CH-47D motion simulator would be underutilized, but it could be justified by the high operating and maintenance cost that the heavy helicopter category implies.
All these helicopter types, each one for its own reasons, call for increased simulator training. The AH-64D, the most advanced attack helicopter in the world, certainly has extended training needs. Additionally the simulator would dramatically reduce ammunition cost used for training. The NH-90, being the most sophisticated transport helicopter in the world, needs extra training for pilots to get into the totally new concept of fighting in a highly automated cockpit. Finally, the experience of the Spanish Army proves that the existing number of CH-47D Chinooks could support, not just a non-motion device, but even a full motion simulator. So, the establishment of a helicopter simulator training center has been certainly justified for Greece.
Hungary had a fleet of just two helicopter types but in quantities good enough to justify the purchase of training devices. The Mi-8 Hip could support at least one motion simulator and no more than two non-motion simulator, while the total number of the devices could not be more than three. The final decision to support the establishment of a training center though could only be substantiated by the operational years remaining for these two ageing helicopter types.
Italy had decided to replace its AB-212 helicopters by the NH-90, while CH-47 Chinooks are the old C models and need to be upgraded (Ripley, 2006). The 13 EH-101 Merlin helicopters do not justify the purchase of a simulator. The H-3, the NH-500E, the NH-90, the A-109, and A-129 helicopters do justify training devices with enough quantities to establish a major training center.
The existence of RotorSim, the training center for Agusta/Westland helicopters that has been running simulators for A-109 and A-129, could be a major drawback since the establishment of a new training center would mean waist of resources. It might be possible for Westland though, because of its partnerships with other manufacturers, to manage and get the proprietary data for all available helicopter types and to get under a single roof (RotorSim) simulators for Boeing/Bell, Shikorsky, NHI, McDonnell Douglass (Breda Nardi), and Agusta designed helicopters.
The Netherlands had many similarities with Greece. Helicopter types, quantities, and thus the predicted training devices were very close to those predicted for Greece. The establishment of a training center has also been justified in this case too. Lynx and NH-90 helicopters could justify the purchase of a motion simulator, while the Apaches could justify a motion simulator and an extra non- motion training device. Cougars could not justify a simulator purchase, but the upgrade of the whole Dutch Chinook fleet to the F model would justify an extra CH-47F simulator.
Poland had the biggest helicopter fleet within all the Eastern European countries. All its helicopter types (except the Mil Mi-14 Haze that are on order) could justify the purchase of multiple training devices. The Mi 8 Hip, the SW-4, and the Mi 24/35 Hind helicopters could justify one motion simulator and at least one non-motion simulator. If they purchase more than two devices for the Hips and the Hinds, the third device would be underutilized. The W-3A helicopters could justify more than one motion simulator and two non-motion simulator. If they purchase more than three devices though, the fourth device would be underutilized.
The major problem for the Polish military would be to determine the life cycle phase that these helicopters are considered. This should be the most important step for all Eastern European countries to decide whether they qualify for establishing a helicopter simulation training center.
Romania had one simulator for the IAR-330 but it should not have been enough to provide the total training hours needed for a SAT or ISD derived training system. The existing helicopter fleet could support a total of four simulators, including two motion simulators. The rest of the fleet and the lack of attack helicopters could not substantiate the establishment of a center.
Spain and especially the Spanish Army proved to be highly dedicated to simulator training and extremely consistent with the number and type of purchased devices. With the back up of the local industry (Indra Systemas), the Spanish Army already has been using one FFS and one FTD for the CH-47D and AS-532 helicopter types, while it had decided to use the same pattern for its Tiger helicopters. It should be expected that a similar decision shall be taken for the NH-90 and thus CESIFAMET, the simulation training center established at the Spanish Army Aviation Flight School, should become one of the best and more integral training centers in the world.
Turkey had already purchased simulators for three of its helicopter types (UH-205, UH-60, and SH-60). Two training centers for the Black Hawk and the Sea Hawk had been constructed by Indra Systemas, under the HELSIM Turkish project (ETS News, 2006). Turkey could also support the purchase of at least two devices for its AS-532 Cougar helicopters. The Cougars were relatively old aircrafts though, and it should be rather unlikely for Turkey to proceed to such a purchase. Nevertheless, with simulators heavily involved with its established training system, it is highly possible that Turkey shall purchase training devices at the early stages of the new attack helicopter program. The Agusta manufactured A-129 Mangusta has been selected by the Turkish Army.
The UK has been the pioneer country for PFI. It has been consistently using simulation for its training needs. The decision to continue outsourcing their military training led in 2006 to a contract of one billion pounds that includes simulator helicopter training at the existing centers (Berry, 2006). It should be expected though that an extra contract shall be rewarded for the purchase of Future Lynx training services. It should be expected that the total number of utilized devices should not be more than four, while the expansion of an existing center should be considered more likely than the establishment of a new one.
International Training Centers
The results have revealed a total lack of training devices for the Russian manufactured helicopters of the Eastern European countries. Helicopter types like Mil Mi- 24/35 Hind, Mi-8/17 Hip, and Mi-2 Hoplite that comprise a significant percentage of the total NATO European fleet (ten per cent) have no simulators to support the training needs of a total of six NATO countries.
Also, the five NH-90 simulators that the German Army and HeliSim have been constructing were not enough to support the training needs for the total European NH-90 fleet. The NH-90 fleet has been spread out among 9 European countries, while only two of them had training devices. The rest of the countries should rely on the number of the remaining training hours that these two countries shall not utilize and will offer for leasing.
The previous statements proved that there has been room for the establishment of common training centers utilized by more than one country. The example of the Franco-German partnership on the establishment of a common Tiger Helicopter simulator training center could be used as a guide for future partnerships.
There are still a few PFI opportunities within NATO European countries for the establishment of a helicopter simulation training center. These opportunities include Greece, the Netherlands, and Czech Republic; while under certain preconditions Italy, Poland and Hungary also justify the establishment of training centers.
There are also many PFI Opportunities for the establishment of international training centers used by multiple NATO European countries, but identifying them was out of the scope of this project. The Franco-German partnership for the Tiger training center has shown the way.