SEA successfully connected its Ship/Air Interface Framework (SAIF) with the Chinook helicopter simulator. The connection allows for sea trials on the new Tide Class Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) Tanker for the U.K. Ministry of Defence.

“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),” said Ian Cox, SEA’s simulation and training portfolio manager.

The defense research and technology company developed SAIF over the years, and has been working to update the simulation capability before linking SAIF with the Chinook flight simulator operated by Boeing in Philadelphia.

Working with Boeing engineers in the U.S., SEA engineers Andy Cosgrove and Gary Henry completed the integration in August 2017. SEA supported a simulated flight trial of the Chinook operating from the Tide Class MARS Tanker before sea trials later this year.

“This project, working with the MoD and Boeing in support of the Chinook program, provides a fantastic opportunity to further exploit the use of cost effective simulation technology,” said Cox.

SAIF provides an open architecture where high fidelity ship air wake and ship motion data can be injected into a flight simulator to provide a highly realistic flight environment to help assess pilot workload and aircraft limitations when undergoing deck landings.

The new Tide Class Tanker was first commissioned by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary service in 2017, with the intention of replacing RFA fleet of single-hull tankers overtime.

“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,” said Cox, “including the new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier.”