Navy Utilizes the Air Force to Train Sailors

The CFAWC Mission Simulator Support room in fly a mission controlled by the maritime fighter controller.

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The Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre (CFAWC) in Trenton and the Canadian Forces Naval Operations School (CFNOS) in Halifax recently united to make history with virtual battlespace training.

Assisted by Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) maritime fighter controllers and CF-18 Hornet pilots from Select Global International, the training provided a new and realistic element for students in the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) Anti-Air Warfare Controller Course (AAWCC).

For the first time, CFAWC’s distributed mission operations centre (DMOC) linked with the RCN’s DMOC, providing simulation assets for force-generation activities — all in accordance with RCAF Simulation Strategy 2025. This distributed mission training (DMT) used virtual simulations (real people operating simulated systems) that included pilots flying CF-18 simulators at CFAWC, and maritime fighter controllers and students operating in the Naval Operations DMOC in Halifax. Constructive simulations (computer-generated entities) were used to simulate enemy aircraft and ships, as well as civilian airliners.

Previously, AAWCC students trained using “table top” exercises, with their instructors playing the RCAF pilot and maritime fighter controller roles. Now, in this realistic environment, students liaised with actual CF-18 pilots flying combat air patrol missions and embedded maritime fighting controllers, which brought a new dimension to the training for more effective learning.

Students were taught to manage their missions based on the aircraft’s available fuel and were forced to incorporate air-to-air refuelling into their plans. They received feedback from the pilots and controllers on their missions.

The benefits of this type of training are immense, as CAF members train in a safe environment, and students have the opportunity to interact with qualified personnel in a realistic environment. In addition, scenarios can be created that cannot otherwise be trained or exercised in the real world. CFAWC and CFNOS have proven that their DMT capabilities provide a more cost-effective and efficient means to train personnel and increase force-generation output while having the same number of operational platforms.

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