The installation of eye and head tracking sensor technologies has been successfully demonstrated in the Hawk-127 lead-in-fighter flight simulators as part of the Jericho Dawn Program, at No. 76 Squadron, RAAF Base Williamtown.

The impressive eye-tracking technology will enable fighter instructors to monitor a student pilot’s point of gaze, dwell time and gaze pattern.

The instructor will then be able to identify poor scanning technique and student response time, either live or post-mission.

On observing the new technology, Executive Officer of No. 78 Wing, Wing Commander Christopher Plain, said they could ascertain between novice and expert scan patterns with a Crew Training System (CTS).

“Using CTS, new Hawk-127 pilots can be coached to better perform certain scans, thereby improving performance in mission achievement, efficiency, time to competency, proficiency and safety,” Wing Commander Plain said.

The Air Warfare Centre Innovation Hub has been running the Jericho Dawn Program since late 2017. The opportunity to work with Seeing Machines CTS was identified and initiated by Mark Corbett, Royal Australian Air Force Institute of Aviation Medicine (IAM).

“Our focus is to put future innovative capability into the hands of the user as quickly as possible.”

A Defence and industry collaboration was setup with CAE, Seeing Machines and RAAF IAM, AWC Innovation Hub and Air Combat Group to install the technology in under six months.

“Our focus is to put future innovative capability into the hands of the user as quickly as possible,” Innovation Hub Manager Squadron Leader Myles Clarke said. 

On completion of the demonstration, No. 78 Wing formally supported the installation of the technology to the next phase, which will see the eye and face tracking installed on the Hawk simulators at Nos. 76 and 79 Squadrons until April 2020.

Over this time, Seeing Machines, No. 78 Wing and Institute of Aviation Medicine will be analysing the data collected to enable the best use of the technology in the training system, with a goal to progress to full capability by 2020.

Seeing Machines Aviation General Manager Patrick Nolan said using the training to understand pilots’ scan behaviour provided significant value, not only in reducing failure rates and the associated cost of training, but in enhancing the training and operational outcomes of pilot candidates.

“Successful demonstration will enable further potential applications across the Australian Defence Force,” he said.

The Jericho Dawn demonstrations conducted by the Air Warfare Centre have seen innovative technologies permanently installed onto aircraft and world-leading micro-power generation being trialled in the field by 2020.

A further two Jericho Dawn demonstrations will be delivered in the coming months – Virtual Tower and Terminal Ballistics.