Marine light attack helicopter close air support trainer for situation awareness
Gibson, John F.
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In today's dynamic combat environment, the importance of Close Air Support (CAS) has increased significantly due to a greater need to avoid civilian casualties and fratricide while maintaining effective fire support for engaged friendly forces. Situation awareness (SA) is a skill that is extremely important in conducting CAS safely and effectively, and is frequently one of the greatest deficiencies of new pilots. As budgets shrink and throughput on current training solutions remains very low, it is difficult to provide new CAS aviators with the number of training repetitions needed to gain SA proficiency. A tablet computer-based CAS part task trainer (PTT) to improve SA was developed to address this. This system provides the visual and audio stimuli of the CAS battlefield and trains a new pilot to observe the environment, listen to communications, comprehend what is happening, and make timely inputs based on his or her understanding of the overall situation. Throughout the training, the system provides questions to the student to evaluate the student's level of SA and to emphasize key SA elements. The lessons delivered by the prototype CAS PTT suggest that it will be useful to teach CAS situation awareness and improving the performance of new pilots. Continued development of a series of low-cost part task trainers that fill different training gaps could result in significant improvement in training future generations of aviators.
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