The Forward Air Controller – a case study into the use of Immersive Simulation to augment the existing training model
5 February 2014
The Forward Air Controller – a case study into the use of Immersive Simulation to augment the existing training model

The requirement for Forward Air Controllers (FAC) has been defined over the past 10 years by Operational need and has been specifically theatre focused. The FAC has proven to be one of the most expensive human assets to train and maintain in the current Force Mix. We now are faced with a move from war fighting to contingent operations in an environment where resources are scarce and procurement decisions face severe scrutiny.


How do we change our approach to training, meeting existing needs whilst also addressing future requirements such as Digitally aided CAS, increased use of Full Motion Video, exploitation of Air Assets and non-permissive theatres of operation?

How can simulation assist in delivering best of class FACs in an economic, efficient and effective manner to be fully prepared for tomorrow’s battlefield?

Workshop agenda



Registration & Coffee



Introduction- Scope of the problem

Tom Ball

Tom Ball, Technical Director, Close Air Solutions

  • Overview of Ab initio FAC training
  • Current focus on Live training
  • Challenges and costs associated with simulation systems
  • High Overheads associated with National FAC Schools
  • Accreditation issues
  • Maintenance and development of FAC post Schoolhouse
  • clock


    Simulation vs Live Controls

  • The reluctance to increase use of simulation
  • Maturity of simulators, fidelity, form fit function kit, wrap around domes and next generation VR headsets
  • Military / Commercial Pilots established model
  • clock


    Morning Coffee



    Training for Tomorrow’s Battlefield

  • Lessons learnt from History
  • Advancement in surface to air systems, implementation of DACAS, exploitation of Net-Centric Warfare etc
  • Increased use of AH and UAV into training model
  • Developing non-permissive tactics with limited access to EW ranges and emulators
  • clock


    Commercial Model

  • Challenging the existing model
  • Transferring risk away from Military
  • Training at the point of need
  • Consistency of white force
  • Aircraft Simulator instructor model
  • Maintaining the expertise
  • Meeting changing training needs
  • Barriers to this model
  • clock


    Summary of Workshop - Q and A



    Chairman’s Closing Remarks and Close of Workshop

    Marriott Regents Park

    128 King Henry's Road
    London NW3 3ST
    United Kingdom

    Marriott Regents Park

    This 4 star north London hotel in zone 2 is the perfect destination for the astute business traveler as well as the leisure guest that knows how convenient north London hotels are, as a base from which to explore the city .Bond Street is just 3 stops from Swiss Cottage underground station on the Jubilee Line, so you can be shopping, exploring the sights and taking in one of London’s world-renowned West End shows in less than 15 minutes when you stay at this hotel near central London. At the same time, the hive of activity that is Camden Town, the chic shops, cafes and restaurants of Primrose Hill and ZSL’s London Zoo in Regents Park are all just a short walk from this hotel in north London.



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    CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development’. It is essentially a philosophy, which maintains that in order to be effective, learning should be organised and structured. The most common definition is:

    ‘A commitment to structured skills and knowledge enhancement for Personal or Professional competence’

    CPD is a common requirement of individual membership with professional bodies and Institutes. Increasingly, employers also expect their staff to undertake regular CPD activities.

    Undertaken over a period of time, CPD ensures that educational qualifications do not become obsolete, and allows for best practice and professional standards to be upheld.

    CPD can be undertaken through a variety of learning activities including instructor led training courses, seminars and conferences, e:learning modules or structured reading.


    There are approximately 470 institutes in the UK across all industry sectors, with a collective membership of circa 4 million professionals, and they all expect their members to undertake CPD.

    For some institutes undertaking CPD is mandatory e.g. accountancy and law, and linked to a licence to practice, for others it’s obligatory. By ensuring that their members undertake CPD, the professional bodies seek to ensure that professional standards, legislative awareness and ethical practices are maintained.

    CPD Schemes often run over the period of a year and the institutes generally provide online tools for their members to record and reflect on their CPD activities.


    Professional bodies and Institutes CPD schemes are either structured as ‘Input’ or ‘Output’ based.

    ‘Input’ based schemes list a precise number of CPD hours that individuals must achieve within a given time period. These schemes can also use different ‘currencies’ such as points, merits, units or credits, where an individual must accumulate the number required. These currencies are usually based on time i.e. 1 CPD point = 1 hour of learning.

    ‘Output’ based schemes are learner centred. They require individuals to set learning goals that align to professional competencies, or personal development objectives. These schemes also list different ways to achieve the learning goals e.g. training courses, seminars or e:learning, which enables an individual to complete their CPD through their preferred mode of learning.

    The majority of Input and Output based schemes actively encourage individuals to seek appropriate CPD activities independently.

    As a formal provider of CPD certified activities, SAE Media Group can provide an indication of the learning benefit gained and the typical completion. However, it is ultimately the responsibility of the delegate to evaluate their learning, and record it correctly in line with their professional body’s or employers requirements.


    Increasingly, international and emerging markets are ‘professionalising’ their workforces and looking to the UK to benchmark educational standards. The undertaking of CPD is now increasingly expected of any individual employed within today’s global marketplace.

    CPD Certificates

    We can provide a certificate for all our accredited events. To request a CPD certificate for a conference , workshop, master classes you have attended please email events@saemediagroup.com

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