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US Navy pilots at the Jacksonville Naval Air Station will receive a new type of simulation software to enhance their operation skills, such as using the Sikorsky MH-60R helicopter’s latest radar system.

Under a $9m contract, California-based Stottler Henke has developed the simulation software, which can run on standard computers including laptops, according to

Navy spokeswoman Lieutenant Callie Ferrari said PC-based training is a cost-efficient way to supplement the training pilots receive in simulators and the aircraft.

“While not a replacement for high-end motion-based simulators or training flights, it does allow pilots to quickly hone their skills for certain cockpit tasks and mission planning techniques,” she said.

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The new software enables the pilots to enhance their skills in using the forward-looking infrared radar system on the helicopter.

In addition, the software also comes with realistic sonar training, an important facet considering the helicopter’s roots in anti-submarine warfare.

At present the software is undergoing tests at North Island Naval Air Station and is expected to be rolled out at Mayport Naval Station and Jacksonville Naval Air Station in early 2011.