The US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command Aviation & Missile (AMRDEC) has developed the collective aircrew proficiency environment (CAPE) device for the UH-60 Black Hawk aircrew trainer (BAT).
The technology enhancement follows after the first prototype for the Black Hawk aircrew trainer was deployed at Fort Bliss, Texas, US.
The CAPE device has been developed by the BAT team members using borrowed or discarded materials due to lack of funding.
It is designed to ensure aircrew readiness and provides a lifelike setting for the crew chiefs and gunners during training.
S3I aviation trainer branch chief and BAT Project director Joseph P Creekmore Jr said: “Design began over a year ago at a somewhat frustratingly slow pace for the BAT Team but, week by week and part by part, the CAPE device took shape and became the device we have today.”
The CAPE device is connected to the BAT using an ethernet, whereas a tethered CAPE will be required for the fielded BAT devices for the army to be able to train a whole UH-60 aircrew.
S3I lead integrator Jarrod Wright, who built the BAT, said: “What we’re trying to do here is … teach that crew coordination to allow pilots and crew chiefs to train like they would in combat with two devices tethered to each other.”
According to Wright, the technology could be used to train complete crews in rescue hoisting and cargo sling load, as well as for hurricane relief or similar missions.
It is expected that the technology could help lower maintenance costs, flight hours, fuel, and the money spent on training.
Creekmore added: “It is my hope that … the army invests in further development of the CAPE and then fields it as BAT mission equipment so we can get this critical training capability in the hands of UH-60 aircrews throughout the army.”