The Italian Air Force recently accepted into service a Predator Mission Trainer at Amendola Air Force Base (AFB) in Italy. The trainer is for the Italian Air Force's Predator and was jointly developed by CAE and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI).

Over the next several months during phase two of delivery, the Predator B/MQ-9 variant of the Predator Mission Trainer will undergo acceptance testing with the Italian Air Force and once accepted, will be the highest fidelity simulator ever developed and fielded for the Predator family of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) systems, according to CAE.

With the new trainer, aircrews will be able to conduct all training in the simulator without requiring further training on the actual aircraft, according to Gene Colabatistto, Group President, Defense & Security, CAE, who says, "Once the Predator B variant is accepted, this Predator Mission Trainer will be the first Level D equivalent simulator for an unmanned aircraft."

As prime contractor on the program, CAE collaborated with GA-ASI and the Italian Air Force to perform flight testing on an actual Italian Air Force Predator aircraft to gather the required flight data used in the development of the Predator Mission Trainer. The use of actual flight data specific to an individual aircraft, which is required when developing Level D simulators - the highest qualification for flight simulators, is a first for the Predator RPA and will allow for zero flight time training if desired.

For the physical hardware, CAE used an original Block 1 ground control station provided by the Italian Air Force to ensure the highest level of fidelity and realism. The Predator Mission Trainer also features CAE's high-fidelity sensor simulation, fully interactive tactical environment for enhanced mission training, and use of the Open Geospatial Consortium Common Database (OGC CDB) architecture for interoperable and networked training capabilities.