Thales has partnered with the Ministry of Defence, the RAF and industry to deliver a state-of-the-art, High-G Training and Test Capability facility that could help save the lives of fast jet pilots.
The £44m project built and run by Thales in the UK is used by fast jet pilots in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force to replicate flight in aircraft such as the Hawk, Typhoon and new F-35 Lightning aircraft. Pilots are able to experience up to 9G - nine times the normal gravitational pull of the Earth - and learn how to use their specialist in-cockpit flying equipment to help them cope with these stresses. The centrifuge can accelerate up to 9G in one second and rotate up to 34 times a minute.
The new facility located at RAF Cranwell is used by fast jet pilots progressing through the UK Military Flying Training System and into their flying careers. Fast jet pilots will refresh their training at least every 5 years to keep them as safe as possible and current in the techniques used to handle High-G forces in flight.
Pilots benefit from a cockpit which closely represents that of their normal aircraft enabling them to conduct a plethora of training scenarios from air-to-air combat to dealing with in-bound missile threats.
The device will also be used to trial and test new equipment to be used on fast jet aircraft and by the pilots. This will also ensure that the testing is done in a benign environment before being trialled in live flight.
The RAF Centre of Aviation Medicine is using the facility to train aircrew to recognise the effects of G-force, develop awareness of it and learn the physical techniques needed to counter the effects on their bodies during combat missions. Up to 300 aircrew will receive training on the centrifuge each year.
The 39-tonne centrifuge built by Thales in the UK has seen the company team up with world leading centrifuge specialists AMST from Austria to design and build the equipment. Thales has been training RAF aircrew since the 1930s providing over 300 complex simulators for 60 different platforms.
Official Opening Ceremony
The facility was opened on 4th February 2019 by Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal, Sir Stephen Hillier. When asked to comment on the new facility he said: "I am delighted to see our new High-G Training Facility opened today and to be able to mark this step-change in how we train our pilots. By exposing our Typhoon, Lightning and Hawk pilots to High-G forces in a tailor-made and completely controlled environment, we are significantly enhancing safety in the air and making a major contribution to our operational effectiveness. Today represents another major milestone in the RAF’s impressive modernisation programme."
The facility is run by Thales in the UK, in partnership with the RAF Centre of Aviation Medicine (CAM).
Thales in the UK has been training Royal Air Force (RAF) aircrews for over 87 years. Since the beginning of this steadfast relationship, Thales has developed and delivered over 300 complex simulators for 60 different platforms…