GIOIA DEL COLLE, Italy: Today at the Gioia del Colle Italian Air Force Base, the first ASTA (Aircrew Synthetic Training Aids) – full Mission Simulator for the Eurofighter Typhoon, has been inaugurated. The Typhoon is the strongest European technological and industrial success in the field of new-generation air-superiority aircraft.

The Eurofighter Typhoon currently in service with the Itailan Air Force at Grosseto’s 4th Air Wing and Gioia del Colle’s 36th Air Wing, is radically changing the way of leading and conceiving air operations, and therefore training systems must offer functionality and performance never reached before.

ASTA has been developed with the participation of two Finmeccanica companies, Alenia Aeronautica and SELEX Galileo and is the most ambitious training programme ever launched in Europe. It has led to the development of a highly realistic set of simulators and training systems, to permit pilots’ training for all Eurofighter’s functionalities and missions.

The ASTA system is made of two types of simulator: A Full Mission Simulator (FMS) and Cockpit Trainer (CT). The FMS provides an exact reproduction of the Typhoon’s cockpit, with flight commands, real HUD (Head Up Display), G-seat simulating acceleration effects, avionic simulation of sensors and armament, which allow for a new tactical training level. The synthetic visualising system creates images of the external scenario for projection on a spherical dome where 13 high-resolution projectors and 6 target projectors assure a vision range of 360° to the pilot.

The Cockpit Trainer inherits the FMS architecture, without g-seat and with a reduced visual system which keeps its fidelity and software functions; it is capable of connecting to FMS in order to carry out network training, by simulating the presence of friend and enemy aircraft. The CT is not only used for basic training and for the one to face emergencies, but also for advanced training: Attack & Identification, Radar-to-Radar, Radar-to-Visual and for the obtainment of the pilots’ Limited Combat Readiness.

The ASTA simulators’ architecture allows it to create, with great realism, the external environment – geographical, natural and tactical – in which the virtual airplane operates during training. The simulator can accomplish missions over the entire Italian territory, reproduced thanks to satellite photography, with a resolution of up to 60 cm and to complete take-offs and landings at many airports. By including other virtual players on the scenario – aircraft, vehicles or crafts – they are visualised realistically on the dome and, if taken by simulated sensors, represented as symbols on the cockpit display, as it happens in reality.

With the ASTA training system it is possible to carry out missions during which more pilots on board network-connected simulators follow a virtual mission in real time with the possibility to recreate complex situations in an immediate and economical way.

The systems for mission planning and analysis are integral parts of ASTA for its support of all training phases on CT and FMS and the parts are: Lesson Planner and Scenario Generator, Debriefing Station & Theatre, in addition to Database Generation System and to Training Management Information System.

After this first Full Mission simulator, a second one will be installed shortly at Gioia del Colle Base, while Grosseto Base will be provided with two FMSs and of one CT starting from 2010. In the meantime Typhoon pilots’ training has taken place in Turin with the simulators of Alenia Aeronautica’s Simulation Centre and also at the Air Force’s military bases thanks to the Enhanced Aircrew Cockpit Procedure Trainer, made by Alenia on the basis of the experience achieved and as national complementary solution for ASTA and, from 2006, in Ronchi dei Legionari, at SELEX Galileo, with the Cockpit Trainer, Lesson Planner & Scenario Generator, Database Generation System e Debriefing assigned to Grosseto Base. This has allowed to operate in security the new aircraft since its entry into service and to complete the important phase of ASTA’s start-up and inclusion in Italian Air Force’s training course.

Alenia Aeronautica, as an Italian member of the Eurofighter Consortium and due to its strong competence in the field of simulation and training, is co-leader of the consortium in Italy with responsibility for the ASTA contract. It supplies all nations with simulation modules of 4 most important aircraft’s sub-systems, covering: navigation, armament, propulsion and secondary power system. Alenia Aeronautica has responsibility to assure ASTA’s efficiency, delivering maintenance, logistic and training support services, on behalf of the Italian Air Force from its own technical and instructing personnel at each of the Bases. Alenia is also building a new facility that will host Grosseto’s ASTA Training Centre.

SELEX Galileo has a primary role in ASTA as a Simulation Company which provides the programme with its radar simulation system (Digital Radar Land Mass System); Debriefing Station, the Theatre; Lesson Planning and Scenario Generator and, in collaboration with the Spanish company Indra, the Instructor Stations.

In Italy, SELEX Galileo produces a visual database, FLIR, Radar, Electronic Warfare and Navaids, and has responsibility for the assembly of the Cockpit Trainer’s for the Full Mission Simulators and guarantees, in collaboration with Alenia Aeronautica, maintenance and logistic support on Italian bases, while providing support on other nations’ bases for the systems of its own competence. For the ASTA programme it has created an infrastructure in Gioia del Colle to host the Training Centre.