Stirling supplies active controls for latest US Air Force simulators


UK-based Stirling Dynamics has been awarded a contract from Edwards Air Force Base in the US to supply the F-35 stick and throttle cockpit sets for the Joint Simulation Environment Program.

Active controls replace the traditional springs and dampers of a passive control system with motors and gearboxes, which are then back-driven using electrical control systems running proprietary software to provide tailorable feel characteristics, as selected by the end user.

These feel characteristics can be programmed to change dynamically during a simulation or test flight in response to any chosen stimulus.

The Joint Simulation Environment (JSE) is a 72,139 square foot facility at the US Air Force’s Edwards base in Nevada that will offer a modeling and simulation environment for the testing of fifth generation fighter aircraft and systems, including the F-35.

The Edwards facility will focus on developmental testing while a sister 50,967 square foot facility at the Nellis Air Force Base facility will focus on operational testing. The JSE facilities, which house simulators and computer systems and should be completed by May 2020.

Stirling Dynamics’s active control technology business manager Jonathan Boon said, “We are pleased to have been selected by Edwards Air Force Base. Our technology will help provide a safe, realistic and highly interactive environment for personnel to train and become mission-ready.

“Stirling’s active simulator controls are feature-rich and “like-for-like” in terms of realism and fidelity. Active control simulation cockpit sets are totally immersive and highly effective in training pilots to take control of real aircraft. We look forward to working with EAFB on this exciting program.”

Production work on the contract has begun said the company, with the first sets scheduled for delivery before year-end.

The system will be used in a development and test simulator to supplement aircraft testing. The CH-53K will begin replacing the CH-53E Super Stallion when it is deployed to the US Marine Corps fleet in 2023/24.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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