RCAF eyes 'virtual' training squadron
OTTAWA - Royal Canadian Air Force fighter pilots of the future could spend almost as much time in a simulator as they do the cockpit under a proposed training regime that has its eyes on the bottom line as much as technology.
The idea was just one of a series of options being examined as military planners look towards the eventual replacement of the CF-18 fleet.
Several briefing notes say air force officials consulted widely throughout last year with the defence industry about what type of training aircraft might be needed, and what sort of "ground-based systems" were available.
The current training regime is tailored to the CF-18s and will have to be revamped, regardless of whether the Harper government chooses to go ahead with the controversial purchase of F-35 stealth fighters.
The documents, released to The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, show the training review was ordered by the now current head of the air force, Lt.-Gen. Ivan Blondin, while he was still deputy commander.
In an interview, Blondin said the air force will probably move towards a training plan that is 50 per cent simulation and 50 per cent flying, something that would save the air force money.