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Royal Canadian Air Force, Navy train sailors

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News Article / April 22, 2016

By Captain Marvin Taylor

History was made March 9 to 11, 2016, when the Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre, at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario, and

the Canadian Forces Naval Operations School at Canadian Forces Base Halifax, Nova Scotia, united in the virtual battlespace to provide students on the Royal Canadian Navy’s Anti-Air Warfare Controller Course with realistic training.

The training was assisted by maritime fighter controllers (the naval equivalent of aerospace control officers, who are responsible for the conduct of aerospace surveillance, warning, and control of airborne objects throughout Canadian airspace. An integral part of the Canadian Air Navigation System, they also provide control to civilian and military aircraft during combat and training operations world-wide, and Select Global International pilots.

For the first time, distributed mission operations centres at the Warfare Centre and at the Naval Operations School linked up to provide simulation capabilities for training purposes in accordance with Royal Canadian Air Force Simulation Strategy 2025.

This distributed mission training used both virtual and constructive simulations in its virtual battlespace. Virtual simulations, or real people operating simulated systems, included the pilots flying CF-188 simulators at the Warfare Centre and the maritime fighter controllers and Anti-Air Warfare Controller Course students operating in the Naval Operations School in Halifax. Constructive simulations, or computer-generated entities, were used to simulate enemy aircraft and ships, and civilian airliners.

Previously, Anti-Air Warfare Controller Course students trained using “table top” exercises, with their instructors playing the RCAF pilot and maritime fighter controller roles. However, the realistic environment – students liaising with actual Hornet pilots flying simulated combat air patrol missions and embedded maritime fighter controllers – brought a new dimension to the training and made the students’ learning more effective.

The students were taught to manage their missions based on their aircraft’s available fuel, and were forced to incorporate air-to-air refueling into their plans. They received feedback from the pilots and maritime fighter controllers on combat air patrol employment, identifying dangerous situations, unrealistic employment of the CF-188s, and identifying more efficient and better tactical employment of the CF-188s.

The week was so successful that the Canadian Forces Naval Operations School is recommending examining other opportunities to replace current training techniques with distributed mission training.

The Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre continues to grow and expand its capabilities, in conjunction with 1 Canadian Air Division, and is ready to take on more force-generation roles and assignments. The benefits of this type of training are immense because Canadian Armed Forces’ resources are limited and expensive. Military personnel train in a safe environment, and students have the opportunity to interact with qualified personnel in a realistic environment. In addition, training scenarios can be created that could not otherwise experienced.

The Warfare Centre and the Naval Operations School have proven that their distributed mission training capabilities provide a more cost-effective and efficient means to train personnel and increase force-generation output while having the same number of operational platforms. Forces that fight together should train together.

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