Israel Air Force M-346 training center takes off

The real thing: an airborne image of the first Israeli M-346. The type is named 'Lavi' - or Lion - in Israel.  (Image © Alenia Aermacchi)
The real thing: an airborne image of the first Israeli M-346. The type is named ‘Lavi’ – or Lion – in Israel. (Image © Alenia Aermacchi)

The Israel Air Force (IAF) inaugurated the new Flight Training Center for the M-346 Lavi trainer aircraft at Hatzerim Air Force Base, prime contractor Elbit Systems reported on Monday 29 September. Elbit developed the Ground Based Training System (GBTS) center together with Alenia Aermacchi amongst others, following a selection by TOR – Advanced Flight Training, which is responsible for operating the trainer aircraft. Alenia Aermacchi delivered the first ‘real’ M-346 advanced jet trainers to the IAF earlier this year.

With the introduction of the M-346 trainer (see our exclusive report on this advanced jet trainer), emphasis is given to groundbased training in the IAF flight school’s advanced training phases, for both fighter pilots and Weapon Systems Operators (WSO’s). The GBTS consists of two Full Mission Simulators (FMS) and two Operational Flight Simulators (OFS), all linked together, offering an experience which is almost identical to real flight. Both pilots and WSOs will undergo training ranging from basic familiarity with the aircraft to the highest level of combat flight competence. This training will be performed based upon a new innovative concept where a high percentage of the syllabus is being practiced at the GBTS, with the trainees visiting the center on a daily basis.

The GBTS enable flight school cadets, as well as graduate pilots and WSOs, to practice unusual and in-flight emergency procedures, and at a more advanced level, to simulate complex combat scenarios in single aircraft or as part of a formation. Elbit Systems will provide the GBTS center with logistics services for twenty years.

On of the editors in the M-346 technology demonstrator. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
One of the editors in the M-346 technology demonstrator. Notice the Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) helmet. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

This comprehensive training solution was selected by the IAF, so the pilots and WSOs will be ready and qualified to progress directly to 4th and 5th generation fighter aircraft (F-16, F-15, F-35). Parallel to training in the Flight Training Center, the cadets, young pilots and WSOs will proceed to airborne training, using Elbit’s Embedded Virtual Avionics (EVATM) onboard training system, integrated by Alenia Aeromacchi into the M346, which transforms the aircraft into a virtual advanced fighter and allows the trainees to achieve an essential experience in operating advanced systems, such as virtual Radar, Optical sensors and Electronic Warfare systems, as well as virtual Air-to-Air and Air-to-Ground weapons.

Source: Elbit Systems

(Image © Alenia Aermacchi)
Two M-346 trainers arrive in Hatzerim. (Image © Alenia Aermacchi)