International Helicopter Training Center
The International Helicopter Training Centre is the central institution of the Bundeswehr to provide basic military helicopter pilot training for Army, Air Force, Navy and international flight students, as well as weapon system-specific flight training and aircraft maintenance training on the tactical transport helicopter (TTH) NH90 and the attack helicopter TIGER.
In order to conduct its training mission, the International Helicopter Training Centre boasts an integrated training system unique within Europe, consisting of conventional teaching, computer-assisted training, simulation, and real flight. Basic and advanced helicopter flight training is provided with the help of a highly modern, highly technologised teaching infrastructure with, at its core, computer classrooms and 14 cockpit procedure trainers and full-mission simulators at the Bückeburg garrison and 4 of the same located in France. The high quality of the simulators (EC 135) at the Bückeburg Simulator Centre is distinctly underlined by their long use by multiple national and international third-party customers.
In order to stay competitive at an international level, the supporting means of training will be modernised in all areas using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) systems as well as modern hardware. The EASA-compliant qualification of the simulators on a Class C or D level has already been initiated. This will allow for each simulator flight hour to be credited as a real flight hour and permits autorotations down to the ground as well as the use of night vision devices.
Although the International Helicopter Training Centre operates the aerodrome with the most real flight hours and flight operations within the Bundeswehr, one of the key aspects of training is flight simulation, which takes up distinctly more than 50%. Complex, even critical situations, which could only be trained at high financial cost or with limited flight safety in real flight, can be trained realistically in the simulator. In addition, aircraft operating costs are significantly reduced and noise emissions lowered at the same time. Around 14,000 simulator flight hours are offered annually at the Training Centre for this purpose.
Moreover, the International Helicopter Training Centre has acquired a leading role in simulator use, particularly as regards cross-linked operations in individual training with tactical components in the past years.
A helicopter simulation network (Army Aviation) that provides a realistic virtual environment and thus creates the prerequisites for the training of basic tactics as well as mission planning, preparation, conduct, and de-briefing for aircrews shall be established in this context.
Basic and advanced training that focuses on the “joint and combined” aspect as well as close cooperation between the armed forces and the industry, e.g. in public-private partnerships or in the Air Manoeuvre Training Alliance (AMTA), have proven constructive for the development process of the International Helicopter Training Centre so far.
Over the course of the years, individual agreements were made with the respective partner nations by the authorities in charge. So it was possible to cater to the customer’s wishes as much and as flexibly as possible.
The DEU Army has taken over responsibility as framework nation for the capability cluster “Multinational Military Basic Helicopter Pilot Training“ (MN MBHT) as part of the Framework Nations Concept (FNC).
The International Helicopter Training Centre has started the initial thought process and is preparing for further multinationalisation.
The intention of the Commandant of the International Helicopter Training Centre, to be achieved as quickly as possible, using all armament processes initiated in parallel and in cooperation with civil contractual partners, is therefore to establish training readiness for the further steps of multinationalisation and the FNC cluster “MN MBHT“, to make the International Helicopter Training Centre more international and fit for the future, to accelerate the modernisation of the integrated training system (cross-linked simulation) in the process, to offer an EASA-certifiable training of a constantly high quality, to eliminate the personnel shortage in qualified flight instructors/examiners and qualified members of the supporting services, and to ensure the fulfillment of the training mission at the most advanced level and very flexibly, according to the requirements of the national branches of service and the international partners.
In close cooperation with our allies, we thus have the chance of offering high-value training economically, efficiently, and in line with modern requirements. Within a purely national training landscape, this would only be possible at significant financial cost. We are ready to advance the development of our modern flying and aircraft engineering training together with our partners and customers.