(K)Night Operational Tactical Training System

KNOTTS has been designed by a team of experienced operators and training specialists to meet the needs of military services worldwide to train and keep aircrew current in tactical operations at night while using the specific NVGs that they will be using for operational flights.

The training value of the KNOTTS system is to introduce students to the physiology, technology and limitations of night operations and to train aircrew to use NVGs and other low light technology to make them safer and more operationally effective at night.

KNOTTS is a cost-effective, four-phase training program which teaches pilots and systems operators to operate at night.  Training can take place during initial training at an OCU and include regular, recurrent training at squadron level.

KNOTTS give aircrew the confidence and skills necessary to carry out operational missions  safely and effectively at night.  They learn to manage sensors, systems and weapons while using Night Vision Goggles.  Training includes single and multiple aircraft scenarios in offensive and defensive situations, all within an operational context.

NVGs provide visual cues at low light levels but limit field of view and increase workload and fatigue. Current training for the use of NVGs for night time aircraft operations comprises mainly classroom-based teaching and the use of Virtual Terrain Boards (VTB).  VTBs are useful tools but can only demonstrate to pilots, not train them to operate.  This learning process requires all operational training to be undertaken on the aircraft at night and is a high risk and expensive training option.

The training challenge is to teach large numbers of pilots and systems operators for night time operations both during operational conversion training and for recurrent training.


The following elements are incorporated in the training:

Understanding of illumination levels for operational planning

Familiarisation with operational NVGs

Low level flying at night

Adaptation of tactics to night operations

Operation of information systems such as FLIR,

Operation of defensive systems such as Chaff and RWR

Operation of weapons systems

Crew co-operation

PHASE 1 theory

Phase one is a Computer Based Training course (CBT) which has been developed by a recognised training authority based on experience from teaching students how to test and certify NVGs for operational use.  The training provides flight crews with a detailed grounding in human physiology, NVG compatible aircraft lighting and some practical training on the technology, together with and pre and post flight NVG handling.  The CBT format will support either classroom teaching or distance learning.

PHASE 2 familiarisation

Phase two familiarises students with NVG operation in a classroom environment using a basic simulation chassis with motion to give a more realistic and less disorientating experience for the student.  This can be either Fixed Wing or Rotary Wing.

A Virtual Reality Headset is used to display the outside world and the cockpit as it would appear through the NVGs.  The software can represent either a fixed wing or Helicopter cockpit and performance.

PHASE 3 simulation

Phase three re-enforces the NVG experience in a purpose-designed, generic, fixed-base, NVG simulator.  The objective is not to teach the pilot to fly the simulated aircraft but to teach him to operate an aircraft and systems effectively and safely at night through a sequence of flights designed to build up his confidence and expertise for multiple aircraft, night operations.

The simulation enables the pilots and weapon systems operators to fly missions and manage operational tasks which are difficult during daytime and which become extremely challenging when operating at night using NVGs.

The Virtual Reality Headset and the simulators are controlled by a PC-based, control station that can simultaneously control multiple simulations.  The instructor can fly an external “aircraft “which appears in the simulation both as a 3D models and also on the radar or situation display.  Multiple simulators from different bases can be linked by DIS for a realistic, operational, night training experience using dissimilar aircraft and training between fixed and rotary wing aircraft.

The simulator can be supplied as either a FW or RW configuration and can be adapted to a specific type if required. The display system uses a single projector within a light-proof dome which enables the student uses his operational NVGs.  When combined with the software used to manage the simulation and generate the imagery, the system displays high resolution and high contrast night scenes.  The cockpit incorporates a range of operational night sensors including FLIR and selectable weapons.