A giant Antonov AN-124 cargo aircraft touched down at Glasgow Prestwick Airport on Monday to make an oversized delivery of a new Operational Flight Trainer (OFT) heading to RAF Lossiemouth.
The simulator is one of two that will be installed in the new £100-million strategic facility built by Boeing Defence UK. From Autumn 2020, RAF Lossiemouth will be the headquarters of the UK’s submarine-hunting Poseidon MRA Mk1 Maritime Patrol Aircraft fleet.
The first simulator was offloaded from the specially chartered Antonov – which took off from Orlando, Florida – and transported by road to RAF Lossiemouth, where it arrived in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
“These simulators have the compatibility to link up with the mission simulators used by the rear crew, allowing them to train together. It’s an essential part of making sure the pilots are fully prepared to operate the new fleet of aircraft”
The simulators and new facility managed by Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) are part of a £470m UK Government investment in the coastal RAF base in Moray, north-east Scotland.
Mark Corden, the Project Manager for Training in the Poseidon delivery team at DE&S, said:“The simulators provide training specifically for the pilots who will be flying the Poseidon fleet. They also have the compatibility to link up with the mission simulators used by the rear crew, allowing them to train together. It’s an essential part of making sure the pilots are fully prepared to operate the new fleet of aircraft.
“The weight of the simulator is not such an issue. It’s the width and height, which make it too big to be transported by any RAF aircraft, such as a C-130J, A400M or C-17. The Antonov is one of only a few aircraft in the world large enough to transport it.”
Known as an OFT, the simulator is provided by Boeing but originally manufactured by CAE. It is 7.39m long, 4.01m wide, 3.73m high and weighs 9,545.45kg (9.5t).
Two OFTs and two rear-crew simulators will eventually be installed in the new strategic facility at RAF Lossiemouth, as well as part-task mission crew trainers, virtual maintenance trainers and electronic classrooms.