The US Navy completed the first successful test flight of the TCTS Inc II Air Combat Training program on an operational F/A-18E/F HORNET on 1 February.

Developed and built by Collins Aerospace Systems and teammate Leonardo DRS, TCTS Inc II is a scalable, flexible, open architecture system that enables highly secure air combat between US aircraft, both 4th- and 5th-generation platforms. It is also designed to encompass multiple functions that make more efficient use of size, weight, and power while bringing new operational capabilities to any given platform.

Designed to allow pilots to ‘train as they fight,’ TCTS II securely connects aircraft and training space (other aircraft, ground, sensors, and threats) for a realistic training experience. This capability significantly improves training realism in simulated, highly-contested combat environments. It also features Synthetic Inject to Live (SITL) capabilities, which connect the live aircraft with synthetic sensors and threats to training in a more realistic environment. Furthermore, TCTS II also collects relevant data to rapidly develop new tactics, techniques, and procedures within a matter of weeks, instead of months or years. With the ability to host operational capabilities, it can help connect the battlespace with the ability to run training and tactical waveforms.

TCTS Inc II is a massive leap in technology and training realism, and the first flight we witnessed at Pax River brings this program to life,” commented Heather Robertson, VP/General Manager, Integrated Solutions at Collins Aerospace. “US Navy and US Air Force pilots will be able to train as they’ve never been able to train before with secure cross-service air combat training and joint live, virtual, and constructive-enabled capabilities.”

The test flight, part of the developmental test phase, helps pave the way for the production decision – Milestone C -- for the programme, anticipated in 2021. (Photo via Collins Aerospace)

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