28 February 2020 – Having successfully passed the on-site acceptance test, the French armed forces’ new cargo hold simulator for the European Airbus A400M transport plane officially entered service on 31 January 2020.
The new simulator is the now most advanced item of equipment at the Cargo Training Centre, which is operated by the French Army at a site near Toulouse. This means that the French Army now has two different systems from Rheinmetall at its disposal for training A400M cargo personnel: the hardware-oriented cargo-load simulator “Cargo Hold Trainer – Enhanced”, and the largely virtual “Load Master Work Station Trainer”.
In 2017 Airbus awarded Rheinmetall a contract to develop, fabricate and supply the training simulator for the A400M Atlas transport plane on behalf of the French Army and French Air Force, the two end customers.
The system just commissioned near Toulouse is the latest generation of the “Cargo Hold Trainer – Enhanced (CHT-E)”, an exact 1:1 replica of the A400M cargo hold, which features the full array of operator interfaces, control stations and original equipment. This makes it ideal for initial, advanced and refresher training courses as well as for mission preparation. Crews can also practise difficult procedures such as airdrop operations in complete safety. All training content is planned, monitored and evaluated at the trainer station, including error simulations activated by the trainer.
Following in the wake of the Airbus International Training Centre (ITC) in Sevilla, the Royal Air Force in Great Britain, the German Air Force and the Royal Malaysian Air Force, the French military is now the fifth user of the A400M cargo hold simulator, which is produced at Rheinmetall’s plant in Bremen. At the Cargo Training Centre near Toulouse, the simulator will be used to train future French Air Force and French Army crews, employing the latest training concepts.
The Load Master Work Station Trainer (LMWST), also made by Rheinmetall, offers an additional means of training cargo loading crews. This training system, which features a virtual cargo hold, has been successfully used for many years at the ITC in Sevilla as well as at the French national A400M training centre in Orléans and the Royal Air Force National Training Centre in Brize Norton.
Photos courtesy Rheinmetall