An indispensable tool for training paratroopers of the French Army and allied contingents
Toulouse, October 20th, 2016 – SPIE Sud‑Ouest has just completed the production of the model for the French Army’s new transport aircraft for military troops at the Ecole des Troupes Aéroportées (ETAP – School for Airborne Troops) site in Pau. The only installation of its kind, this model will constitute the main tool for educating and training French and foreign paratrooper students and Army personnel on the ground for airdrop operations via the new military transport aircraft.
Produced by SPIE Sud‑Ouest (Industrial Mechanical Engineering Department in Nègrepelisse) in collaboration with STAT (Section Technique de l’Armée de Terre – Engineering Section of the French Army) on the request of the DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement – Directorate General of Armaments), this novel, full‑scale model recreates the environment of the French Army’s new transport aircraft for military troops as faithfully as possible. The objective: to enable paratrooper students, loading crew members and loadmasters to become familiar with the environment of this new type of aircraft by means of a cargo hold simulator. In particular, the aim is to become familiar with the various operations, such as equipping and checking the paratroopers, loading, the procedures to be carried out when taking off, when in flight and when parachuting (static‑line jump), or else the recovery of a paratrooper who has become attached to the aircraft by accident.
As a complement to the partial representation of the cargo hold of the aircraft, and in order to create training conditions that are as realistic as possible, the SPIE Sud‑Ouest teams also installed a hangar for protecting the paratroopers while being equipped on the ground, covering a concrete area as well as two lateral reception areas.
After a study phase lasting several months, the production of the model and its environment was carried out in a workshop on‑site from Autumn 2015 ready for delivery in July 2016. The whole of the operation required the joint work of approximately ten employees belonging to various professions. Thus, a succession of designers, structural engineers, machine operators, welders, boilermakers, painters, carpenters, electricians and fitters came together to recreate, with as much detail as possible, a model consisting entirely of steel, concrete and wood.
“The production of a simulator of this scale – a first for the SPIE Group – has been very informative, requiring the mobilisation of a wide range of skills”, explains Georges‑Emmanuel Andrillon, head of the Industrial Mechanical Engineering Department in Nègrepelisse, within the Industrial Operational Unit of SPIE Sud‑Ouest. “Our teams had to overcome multiple challenges particularly in the design phase, such as taking into account all the interior and external elements, including, for example, the need for complete darkness for the simulation of night jumps.”
“This adventure doesn’t stop here”, continues Jean‑Luc Bidondo, head of the Midi‑Pyrénées Industrial Maintenance department. “Our teams that produced the electrical and air‑handling equipment for the model are going to take on the task of maintaining its operational condition for a period of at least 5 years.”
Photograph credit: © SPIE – photo X. Boymond
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