While Air Forces work on the challenge of recruiting enough pilots, the next step on the journey will be training them.

The AERALIS project aims to build innovative aircraft using a modular design which will deliver shorter overall pilot training times.

The company hopes to achieve this by creating commonality between aircraft types, as well as exposing students earlier to more complex mission management training due to configurable cockpits and a fully tailorable flying training system.

AERALIS hopes the aircraft will motivate a new generation of young people to train in aerospace engineering, manufacturing and STEM subjects as well as follow careers in aviation.

Core common fuselage has modular configurations

AERALIS Head of Programme Luca Leone explained: “We use a model that’s well proven in the civil aerospace markets of a modular modular design with multiple different configurations to fulfil different market needs. So we use a what we call common core fuselage, which is the central section of the aircraft, which is common across different variants, and then multiple, what we call modular external sub assemblies, which are different wing configurations, different engine configurations, to then allow them to operate in different scenarios but reduce that through life cost of the aircraft.”

Aircraft caters for basic and advanced training requirements

The modular design helps pilots to train in both basic and advanced training requirements. Leone said: “At the moment we’re focusing on the basic and advanced, so we have a swept wing and a low rated engine for the basic aircraft and then a swept wing and higher rated engine for the advanced.”

“It removes the need of those two completely different aircraft, different operating system and different support chains and replaces them with one common family of aircraft. And that gives you about a 30 to 35 per cent reduction in through light costs. And that was some work we did with that with Fraser Nash to prove out that cost model.”

AERALIS is working with different UK contractors on the project including Thales and Atkins on the engineering side and KBR. Leone explained that AERALIS would also be able to create an app to fulfil requirements for F35 training which can be upgraded to Tempest or sixth generation aircraft when this is required. He added that information systems and technologies such as gamification will help pilots to train and learn systems quicker.