European Military Trainer Aircraft
To help nations, themselves lacking in the facilities for training aircrews, the United States and Canada sponsored an important training scheme for pilots, navigators and radar observers from other NATO countries. Up to the end of 1953, approximately 2,200 pilots and 2,400 other specialised aircrew from other NATO countries had been trained in Canada and the United States. The United States also provided trainer aircraft to enable European countries to expand their own training programmes. The Air Training Advisory Group was established to advise and assist nations on air training problems. All these efforts were successful not only in meeting the initial heavy demand for aircrews, but also in providing crews for the frontline aircraft which were planned to be available in 1955.
By 1973, the rapidly rising cost of pilot training and the need to improve interoperability of NATO air forces led a group of European nations to examine the feasibility of conducting a consolidated undergraduate flying training program. While pursuing this initiative, the participating countries also hoped to solve other problems such as predominantly poor weather conditions and restricted airspace, which impacted the flying training programs of many NATO air forces. In 1974, the United States joined the working group and, in addition to the United Kingdom, Italy, Turkey and Canada, proposed a plan to host a joint undergraduate pilot training program. After a thorough review of all the proposals, it was agreed that the United States could offer the best combination of good flying weather, adequate training airspace, existing facilities and growth potential to accommodate proposed annual requirements. Consequently, in 1978, the United States was formally selected to host the ENJJPT program for 10 years as a short term solution, while studies on relocation to a European base continued.
The Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program, established in the spirit of the NATO, is conducted by the 80th Flying Training Wing at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. ENJJPT is the world's only multi-nationally manned and managed flying training program chartered to produce combat pilots for NATO. The 80th FTW is the official U.S. Air Force designation of this flying training organization, but it is better known as the ENJJPT Wing by its members.
Five nations -- Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway and the United States -- provide instructor pilots based on their number of student pilots. Canada, Greece, Portugal, Spain and Turkey do not have student pilots in training, but do provide one instructor pilot. As an example of this totally integrated structure, an American student pilot may have a Belgian instructor pilot, a Dutch flight commander, a Turkish section commander, an Italian operations office, and a German squadron commander.
ENJJPT is also unique with its four distinct training programs. In addition to Undergraduate Pilot Training, ENJJPT also provides for its own Pilot Instructor Training (a program that teaches pilots to be instructor pilots), Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals, and IFF Upgrade Instructor Pilot training. About 200 student pilots earn their wings at ENJJPT annually after a 55-week, three-phased training regimen. About 80 new instructor pilots are trained annually and up to 150 pilots transition through IFF each year. All this training is supported by a staff of more than 1,300 military, civilian and contract personnel employing.
A modern trainer should be designed in accordance with the needs imposed by the entry into service of new and more capable operational aircraft. The trainers in service by the turn of the century were designed, at best, with late 1960’s generation fighters in mind. The introduction of a modern trainer into service will allow substantial savings, over their lifecycle, with respect to the existing advanced trainers, even if updated with state-of-the-art avionic systems. New combat aircraft types have been introduced into front line service, featuring operational capabilities greatly increased with respect to the previous generation of fighters and attack aircraft. The new combat vehicles feature large improvements in energy/manoeuvrability, expecially in the transonic arena, with turn rates and specific excess power largely increased when compared to last generation fighters. High angle of attack capability, meaning the ability to effectively manoeuvre above 30-35 degrees, is now featured by many of the new types, and this capability is brought to its extreme when thrust vectoring is adopted.
Being however a trainer aircraft, some requirements must be added to allow an easy transition from lower types, such as basic turboprops or even high power piston trainers, such as low terminal speeds, expecially at final approach, and excellent low speed characteristics. Performance and handling should be progressively increased to match the pupil capabilities, up to the point of matching the operational aircraft flying qualities (in-flight simulation). A new trainer must reproduce the cockpit environment of modern combat aircraft; however also the displayed information must be similar in qualitative and, if possible economically, quantitative terms. Navigation and weapon delivery computing functions shall therefore be as close as possible to those of an operational aircraft.
The requirements for a new trainer should also take into account the need, from many AirForces, of providing limited fighting capabilities in a secondary role; the new trainer shall thence be capable of carrying at least 6000 lb of weapons, with a limited degradation in performance, and shall be able to operate with the said loads from short runways and in hot/high conditions. The requirement for a secondary role capability for the advanced trainer can push towards a supersonic configuration, expecially if “point defence” roles would be envisaged. It must however be recognized that these capabilities will be limited by the aircraft maximum economical size as a trainer: in particular the number and kind of weapons that can be integrated’ on a small aircraft will be reduced, as will be the payload/range characteristics of any advanced trainer.
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