Google Cloud powering new Air Force flight simulators

The Joint Immersive Training System (JITS) is a cloud-based training system that can scale across the Air Force and drive costs down, officials say.
Air Force pilot training
U.S. Air Force Airman First Class Shane Stewart, Pilot Training Next student, trains on a virtual reality flight simulator at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Austin, Texas, Feb. 5, 2019. (U.S. Air Force / Sean M. Worrell)

As the Air Force looks for new ways to increase pilot training, it has turned to Google Cloud to help power new flight simulation platforms.

The technology, acquired by the Defense Innovation Unit, offers a cheaper and more scalable cloud-based training interface that can support multiple types of plane simulations, according to the company.

The Joint Immersive Training System (JITS) has a consistent interface for several types of planes the Air Force trains on, as opposed to one-off systems that model specific planes.

“Adopting Google Cloud provides a consistent and secure user experience for student pilots regardless of where they undergo their training,” Mike Daniels, vice president for global public sector at Google Cloud, said in a press release. “And with Google Workspace, we’ll also enable collaboration and remote learning with the best instructors who may be located in another state or at another Air Force Base.”


Pilot training has become a critical issue for the Air Force, with recent initiatives like Pilot Training Next and others looking to fill a shortage of trained pilots with technology-driven solutions like the one Google now provides.

The virtual system can be used with different type of physical components, even commercial-off-the-shelf gear like a gaming chair and joystick will work with the software. The JITS system is designed to offer initial training, starting new pilots on the basics of flight before throwing them in a cockpit. Being able to plug-and-play with different types of physical components is one of the factors that is expected to drive the cost down on the overall training system.

Google’s cloud-based system also has an API that can be plugged into by a number of other vendors to glean insights on pilot training progress and other metrics. Google said the company is also providing services to DIU in addition to its technology to help implement the new cloud-based systems.

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