Two state of the art simulators- The Flight and Tactical Simulator (FATS) for Seaking helicopters and the Water Survival Training Facility (WSTF) for aircrew were commissioned at Kochi – the home of Navy’s training command on 29 Aug 13. Vice Admiral Satish Soni, Flag Officer Commanding in Chief of Southern Naval Command inaugurated the twin facilities, housed at INS Garuda Navy’s Air Station at Kochi.
The Admiral paid homage at the Seaking memorial built at the premises of FATS prior to the event. Speaking on the occasion, Admiral Soni said that such facilities help in reducing accident rates and asked the crew to focus on proper maintenance so that the facilities can be utilized for many years.
The FATS is designed for Pilots and Observers of Seaking helicopters for initial, and periodic training, as well as evaluation of new procedures and tactics. The real life simulator built from ground up with inputs from over 110 Navy personnel and 200 engineers from M/s HALBIT and M/s ELBIT, is a PC based system with glass cockpit, collimated visuals, and an electro pneumatic system with six degrees of freedom and motion. The simulator is a roll on/roll off system wherein other aircraft cockpits can also be inserted in lieu and flown. The simulator can factor in all scenarios encountered by a Navy pilot including deck landings on different warships, various emergencies, and night flying. Commander Wingston Mathew is the Officer in Charge of the FATS.
The WSTF built at a cost of Rs 20 Crore, will provide realistic training to air crew for escape from a ditched aircraft under varied simulated conditions and crash scenarios. The facility, the first of its kind in India, has state of the art Survival Training Simulation Theatre (STST) with several components. The Helicopter Underwater Escape Trainer and the Cockpit Underwater escape trainer of the STST trains the crew in escaping from a submerged aircraft. The Parachute Disengagement and Drag Trainer provide a realistic experience in water entry while descending on a parachute to the sea. Rescue Hoist Trainer of the STST as the name suggests, provides the aircrew rescue procedures and techniques while being rescued. The Environment Simulator Equipment simulates various conditions of air craft accidents such as day, night, rain, heavy seas, low visibility, wind, thunder and lightning. The WSTF has been set up by Survival Systems India, Mumbai. Commander Satish is the Officer in Charge of the facility.
Press Release, August 30, 2013; Image: Indian Navy