The simulators and training equipment for the F-22 Raptor air-superiority
fighter aircraft are scheduled for delivery to the Air Force by
2003, industry officials said.
The F-22, which has been in development for at least a decade,
cleared a major hurdle in September, when the Defense Acquisition
Board approved the production of 10 aircraft, allowing the program
to enter a $2 billion low-rate initial production phase. Lockheed
Martin Aeronautical Systems Co. is the prime contractor. The Air
Force could end up buying nearly 300 F-22s over the next decade.
The Boeing Co. supplies the F-22’s wings, aft fuselage, avionics
systems, training and life-support systems. A Northrop Grumman-led
joint venture with Raytheon, under contract to Boeing, is developing,
testing and manufacturing the radar system for the F-22.
For the development and production of training devices, Boeing
received about $110 million in contracts.
In the long term, Boeing plans to produce 106 training devices,
according to Alan Blackstock, Boeing’s F-22 training-devices
manager. Three types of pilot training devices and five types of
maintenance-training devices are currently under development by
Link Simulation & Training, in Arlington, Texas, a division
of L-3 Communications. Another two maintenance devices are being
provided by USM, in Houston, Texas.
The engineering, manufacturing and development (EMD)contract was
awarded to Boeing and Lockheed Martin in 1991, but the development
of the training devices only began in January 1997.
Two contracts worth $22 million for the maintenance-training devices
and $28 million for the pilot-training devices were awarded to Link.
In 2000, USM won the contract for the two additional types of maintenance
trainers. The company declined to specify the value of the contract.
“We are currently developing 10 different configurations
of training devices in EMD and are producing six production units
in Lot 1 [copies of the trainers],” said Blackstock. He said
that the training devices range from simple panel remove-and-install
features to complex simulators.
For pilot training, Link is working on the F-22 full-mission trainer,
a weapons tactics trainer and an egress-procedures trainer, said
Rick Oyler, Link’s spokesman.
“The F-22 full mission trainer is going to be the first trainer
to employ a nine-facet SimuSphere visual system display,”
said Oyler. SimuSphere was designed as a dodeca-hedron display making
use of all nine facets in its full configuration. Fold mirrors are
used on some of the facets to reduce the facility footprint of the
system. A dodecahedron is a solid figure with 12 equal pentagonal
faces meeting in threes at 20 vertices.
“This will enable the pilot to view out the window imagery
wherever he happens to turn his head,” explained Oyler. “He
will have the full motion, as he will have in the actual aircraft.”
SimuSphere has a much smaller footprint than existing domes, which
can be as high as 40 feet. “These large domes have not been
able to provide the computer chip-generated imagery through the
same degree of brightness and resolution as the SimuSphere,”
The smaller size of the dome also reduces maintenance costs for
the F-22 full-mission trainer, because it will take up much less
space, he explained.
The U.S. Navy is already using SimuSphere for its F/A-18 Hornet
flight trainers, but the Navy requested three to five facets, rather
“The full mission trainer features a 360-degree visual system
and incorporates 1.4 million lines of code,” said Blackstock.
Many of the codes are for the visual displays and some make the
trainer fly and handle situations like the actual aircraft would
do, he said. Developers are working to replicate the actual F-22
cockpit as closely as possible.
“Those types of things that the student would physically
interface are real,” said Blackstock. The trainer has a realistic
aircraft throttle and stick, rudder paddles and landing gear. The
cockpit seat is simulated, “but you wouldn’t be able
to tell,” said Blackstock.
When pilots train on the full-mission trainer, they will be practicing
a typical range of training maneuvers—from formation flight,
air refueling, weapons delivery, air-to-air and air-to-ground combat,
emergency procedures, and take-off and landings, said Oyler.
“The landing-gear trainer also includes embedded software
and fully interfaces to air vehicle hydraulic, air and coolant carts,
as well as the portable maintenance aid—a computer used to
diagnose the health of the air vehicle,” said Blackstock.
He added that modern trainers require high levels of fidelity,
because today’s fighter planes have only one pilot seat. “When
they go from the full-mission trainer, the first time they fly will
be solo,” said Blackstock.
Link is scheduled to build two additional full-mission trainers
and four weapon-tactics trainers under a new production contract
from Boeing, Oyler said.
Lockheed Martin has set up an F-22 demonstrator, designed to show
Air Force pilots and program subcontractors how the end product
will look. “The switches, the position, the shape and the
functions are correct,” said Richard Mather, who is in charge
of F-22 business development at Lockheed Martin. “But the
sizes are about two thirds of the actual size, and the throttle
keeps it well together, but it is like a game stick.”
Mather said that pilots can fly the airplane without taking their
hands off the throttle and stick. The demonstrator has 27 switches
and 127 functions and the trainees can manipulate data while flying,
explained Mather. The demonstrator has altitude indicators, a maintenance
page and databases that can be accessed on demand. “If you
want to find out about a certain guy, you put the cursor on him,”
The weapons-tactics trainer provides a more procedural training,
and it is designed to develop air systems operation skills, said
Oyler. The trainer has simulated controls and displays that represent
the main F-22 aircraft instrument panel. “It will enable the
pilots to practice individual and team weapons-systems employment,
or it can be used as a mission-generation system,” said Oyler.
The egress-procedures trainer is a cockpit canopy which serves
as a training device and allows pilots to learn how to execute various
procedures. It supports ground and in-flight egress, lock-support
training and ejection-seat inspections, explained Oyler. “It
is more designed to permit the inspection of the cockpit, as well
as the ability to eject safely from the cockpit.”
While pilot trainers focus mostly on the simulated cockpit, on
the maintenance trainers, “you roll up your sleeves and do
the work,” said Blackstock.
The maintenance trainers will use individual aircraft sections
that look like those of the F-22, explained Oyler. Operator stations
and a computational system will allow the instructors to control
the training scenario. “These devices will support, in general,
the inspection removal and replacement procedures and operational
checks required for the various sections of the F-22,” said
Oyler. As part of the maintenance trainers, Link is building the
landing-gear trainer, armament trainer, cockpit and forward fuselage
trainer, seat and canopy trainer, and aft fuselage trainer. The
hardware for the trainers is developed by USM, under contract to
L3 Communications, said Paul Johnson, USM’s vice president
As a subcontractor to Boeing, USM is also developing the fuel systems
trainer, which teaches how to service the fuel system and the on-structure
trainer, which shows maintenance personnel how to repair and replace
individual panels, said Johnson.
Bob Krajczynsky, the Boeing manager of the F-22 maintenance training
system, noted that the courseware only was designed for experienced
technicians, not for beginners. “Basically, [our trainer]
is intended for a maintenance technician already trained in the
weapon system,” he said. “We are targeting people with
a fairly good background in maintaining aircraft,” preferably
those who have worked on F-15s.
Boeing is building 810 instruction modules, out of which approximately
507 are computer-based training modules used in classrooms. Thirty-six
modules are available for students to train at their own pace, but
they are designed in such fashion that, “students can’t
go very far off track,” said Krajczynsky. “We allow
them two mistakes, and after that, the instruction puts him back
on the correct path.”
The computer-based training uses three-dimensional graphics that
depict every inch of the aircraft, from the outside and the inside.
Krajczynsky said the graphics are detailed and accurate. “If
students pay attention in class, they are not going to have a problem
identifying the parts,” he said. “They are photo-realistic.”
He added that commercial airliners use similar technology, which
has helped to reduce training time by 30 percent. “Our computer-based
training takes advantage of both visual and oral capabilities of
the students,” Krajczynsky said. “When we project a
picture on the screen, it will have a lot of graphics and very few
words to touch on the basic point, and then the instructor adds
his emphasis and goes into depth with his explanation.”
There are live mock-ups of the airplane available for students
to learn how to remove and install pumps, bleed hydraulic systems
and even jack up an airplane, Blackstock said. Training also includes
operational checkout tests, fault isolation and repair tasks.
Because the F-22 fighter jet is still in development, the trainers
will have to keep up with the latest advances. However, Blackstock
explained that, because the training system is part of the weapons
system contract, the developers must identify how a change in the
weapon system would impact the trainers. That will ensure that there
is “concurrency” between the aircraft and the trainer.