Vrgineers has donated its Portable Trainer, a reconfigurable virtual pilot trainer, to the Ukraine Air Force to help with securing their airspace and train tactics with mission rehearsal. Based on the results from experimental research on the use of virtual reality and simulators in training pilots, Vrgineers believes that their technologies can speed up and enhance the training of jet fighter and helicopter pilots, while simultaneously reducing associated costs when transitioning from eastern platforms to modern, western platforms.
For decades now there has been a push to modernize the current training methods, driven in part by the costs of altering and maintaining large, dome simulators; the inability to keep training devices up-to-date as aircraft in the field and corresponding software update faster than training simulators; and an overall lack of expert training professionals. Virtual and mixed reality technologies can significantly enhance the process of pilot transformation from eastern platforms such as Migs and Suchoj to western platforms such as Lockheed Martin F-16, or F-35, Airbus Eurofighters, Dassault Rafales, and Saab Gripens, as well as for multiple helicopters.
The demand to modernize is even more necessary in countries and air forces that have been dependent on eastern training methods and devices such as Ukraine. Russian manufacturers have discontinued the supply of spare parts, forcing several rescue and transport aircraft to be grounded all over Europe, based on EASA regulations. Additionally, some countries, such as Slovakia, which borders Ukraine, have seen a postponement in deliveries of their multirole fighters and are looking for a faster method of pilot training with a rapid training syllabus.
Vrgineers’ trainer simulators are developed in close cooperation with the U.S. Airforce and U.S. Navy as a part of the SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) program to accelerate pilot training, speed up the process and increase the preparedness of pilots. Such trainers offer opportunities to deliver affordable simulators with realistic synthetic training environments, which can be deployed anywhere. They can be interconnected with one another for group training, used individually for mission and tactical training, or full procedural training. Simulators are already integrated with such IGs as Prepar3D, X-Plane, VBS 4, or MCS.
Different styles of the simulators include varying levels of cockpit replicas and fully operational instrumental panels to suit individual organizational needs and budgets. This includes the ‘Portable Trainer’ which comes with a throttle, stick, rudder, and adjustable seat that provides vibration force; the ‘Classroom Trainer’ that can be adapted for any aircraft as a one-to-one authentic cockpit replica enhanced by motion sensation; to the ‘Custom Trainer’ which includes a physical cockpit, control systems, and flying models.
“We see great potential for militaries and private organizations looking for a transition from a Mig to an F-16 or F-35, or from Mi-8 to Blackhawks and need a cost-effective way to train their pilots,” adds Marek Polcak, CEO of Vrgineers.