French Armed Forces’ New Rheinmetall A400M Cargo Hold Simulator Enters Service

The French Armed Forces’ new cargo hold simulator supplied by Rheinmetall for the Airbus A400M transport aircraft officially entered service on January 31.

The new simulator is the now most advanced item of equipment at the Cargo Training Centre, which is operated by the French Army at a site near Toulouse, France. The entry of service was following a successful on-site acceptance test.

The induction of the new simulator means that the French Army now has two different systems from Rheinmetall at its disposal for training A400M cargo personnel: the hardware-oriented cargo-load simulator “Cargo Hold Trainer – Enhanced”, and the largely virtual “Load Master Work Station Trainer”.

Rheinmetall A400M Cargo Hold Trainer - Enhanced (CHT-E).
Rheinmetall A400M Cargo Hold Trainer – Enhanced (CHT-E).

In 2017, Airbus awarded Rheinmetall a contract to develop, fabricate and supply the training simulator for the A400M Atlas transport aircraft on behalf of the French Army and French Air Force, the two end customers.

The system just commissioned near Toulouse is the latest generation of the “Cargo Hold Trainer – Enhanced (CHT-E)”, an exact 1:1 replica of the A400M cargo hold, which features the full array of operator interfaces, control stations and original equipment. This makes it ideal for initial, advanced and refresher training courses as well as for mission preparation. Crews can also practise difficult procedures such as airdrop operations in complete safety. All training content is planned, monitored and evaluated at the trainer station, including error simulations activated by the trainer.

Following in the wake of the Airbus International Training Centre (ITC) in Sevilla, the UK Royal Air Force (RAF), the German Air Force and the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), the French military is now the fifth user of the A400M cargo hold simulator, which is produced at Rheinmetall’s plant in Bremen. At the Cargo Training Centre near Toulouse, the simulator will be used to train future French Air Force and French Army crews, employing the latest training concepts.

The Load Master Work Station Trainer (LMWST), also made by Rheinmetall, offers an additional means of training cargo loading crews. This training system, which features a virtual cargo hold, has been successfully used for many years at the ITC in Sevilla as well as at the French national A400M training centre in Orléans and the Royal Air Force National Training Centre at RAF Brize Norton.

French Air Force A400M Atlas
An Airbus A400M Atlas (MSN007 ) military transport aircraft of the French Air Force (Armée de l’Air Française) during its first flight. © Airbus.

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