Embedded training

Using ECATS it is possible to train the extensive capabilities of the F-35 anywhere and at any desired time more realistically, more effectively and more efficiently.

Airbus Netherlands and the National Aerospace Laboratory of the Netherlands (NLR) have worked together to develop the ‘Embedded Combat Aircraft Training System’ (ECATS). In April 2004 this system was demonstrated on an operational F-16 MLU fighter aircraft of the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF). These flights proved that such an in-flight training system is technically feasible and can indeed provide more intense and realistic training in a safe and flexible manner.


ECATS is provided by means of simulation built into an operational aircraft and is executed during flight. In the cockpit the simulation presents the pilots a realistic and challenging synthetic environment containing synthetic hostile and friendly aircraft and synthetic Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAM-sites). The pilots can interact with this environment using the aircraft’s offensive and defensive systems as they are expected to do in real combat situations.

Under contracts of Lockheed Martin, Airbus Netherlands and NLR are assisting in the development of the embedded training solution for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) which builds on E-CATS components, delivered in 2012.

The integration of these E-CATS components provides the cornerstone for Live, Virtual, Constructive (LVC) training. With E-CATS on-board, the fighter pilot can participate in mission training sessions within the confines of a LVC range, and also train anywhere, anytime, without the need of an instrumented training range.