Prior to the Chinook helicopter starting sea trials aboard the Royal Navy’s first MARS tanker, UK company SEA has performed a successful simulated flight trial.
The company is providing modelling and simulation support to the UK MoD Chinook project team as a method of assessing key aircraft handling qualities.
The project has involved updating the Ship/Air Interface Framework (SAIF) simulation capability, which SEA has developed for the MoD and then linking SAIF with the Chinook flight simulator operated by Boeing in Philadelphia.
According to SEA, the SAIF/Chinook simulator integration activity was successfully completed in August 2017 by SEA engineers Dr Gary Henry and Andy Cosgrove, working with Boeing engineers in the US.
SEA subsequently supported a simulated flight trial of the Chinook operating from the Tide-class MARS Tanker.
Tide-class is a new fleet of four tankers being built to enhance the Royal Navy’s maritime capabilities. The first vessel in the class is due to be commissioned into the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) service in 2017.
The next-generation tankers are part of the MARS project and are intended to replace the RFA’s ageing fleet of single-hulled tankers. A key requirement is the capability to operate the Chinook from the ship’s flight deck.
“We are very keen to further explore how simulation can be used as part of a safe and progressive approach to the development of ship/helicopter operating limits (SHOLs). This project, working with the MoD and Boeing in support of the Chinook programme, provides a fantastic opportunity to further exploit the use of cost effective simulation technology,” SEA’s Simulation and Training Portfolio Manager Ian Cox explained. “If the simulation provides realistic results for the Chinook/MARS Tanker combination, then it opens up the opportunity to apply the same approach to support the generation of SHOL clearances for several other Chinook/ship platform combinations, including the new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier.”