Air Force F/A-22 student pilots are scheduled to begin training in six new
simulators recently delivered at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Two are full-mission
trainers and four are weapons and tactics trainers.
All F/A-22 pilots will train at Tyndall. The Boeing Company is charged with
developing and implementing the entire F/A-22 training system for both pilots
In addition to the full mission trainer, and weapons and tactics trainer, Boeing
also developed an egress procedures trainer.
The entire training program is worth $720 million: $220 million for 10 prototype
trainers and courseware, and $500 million for 96 production trainers. Boeing
is a one-third partner in the F/A-22 aircraft program, but has 100 percent of
the trainer work. Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for the aircraft.
The Air Force already has a training facility at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
After Tyndall, next comes Langley, in Virginia, and the Shepard maintenance
facility, in Wichita Falls, Texas.
The first operational F/A-22 Raptor was delivered to the schoolhouse at Tyndall
on Sept. 26. The Raptor eventually will replace the F-15 Eagle.
The 325th Fighter Wing, which trains F-15 pilots, air-battle managers, intelligence
officers and air traffic controllers, was selected as the site for the F/A-22
pilot training program in August 2000.
Tyndall is expected to receive 50 Raptors over the next two to three years.
The first six simulators represent one-tenth of the overall training system
deliveries Boeing plans for the next 10 years, said Pamela P. Valdez, Boeing
F/A-22 training system manager.
The full-mission trainer has a 360-degree high-fidelity display. The weapons
and tactics trainer, with less visual fidelity, was designed for hands-on throttle
and stick proficiency.
All pilot instructors are Boeing employees, said Norm Riegsecker, the company’s
pilot training manager for the F/A-22. “They are building and testing
missions, and making sure they are proficient in the operation of devices.”
Initially, the training will be only for air-to-air operations. That is because
the original F-22 (before it was renamed F/A-22) was not designed as a primary
ground attack platform, but as an air superiority fighter. “The current
F/A-22 avionics software (the operational flight program) does not support air-to-ground,”
said Riegsecker. “This will be part of the program in the near future.”
Although air-to-ground is part of the baseline capability, “it is neither
on the air vehicle yet nor in our simulator,” he said.
L-3 Communications Link Division is the primary supplier of the F/A-22 pilot
training devices, and is providing five of the seven maintenance devices.
The visual displays and imagery are from Silicon Graphics Inc. SGI supplies
the out-the-window views, cockpit displays and simulation of aircraft behavior.
A head-tracking system monitors pilot head movement to display high-resolution
images in whatever direction the pilot looks.
There are no plans to link the F/A-22 simulator with an air operations center,
said Riegsecker. Rather, an instructor will “role-play” the air
The Air Force and Boeing, meanwhile, are studying options for how to network
the F/A-22 pilot training simulator with other aircraft trainers. But it is
unlikely that the F/A-22 trainer will be integrated with other simulators until
the actual aircraft becomes operational, possibly in 2005.
Under a program called Distributed Mission Operations, the Air Force plans
to create a virtual environment connecting its major weapon-systems trainers.
The DMO concept is replacing what used to be called Distributed Mission Training,
or DMT, conceived as a web of simulators that operates over a distributed wide-area
net throughout the United States.
Existing DMT trainers include an F-15 and an F-16 four-ship trainer, and an
AWACS early-warning and control aircraft simulator.
The F/A-22 system program office is “anticipating a future requirement
to connect to the DMT backbone and to interface with F-15, F-16 and AWACS,”
“We did not have a DMT requirement in our specifications,” she
explained. “Our requirement is to just work internally within the schoolhouse.”
But it is likely that the F/A-22 will need to, eventually, become part of the
DMO network, she noted.
“We have a study under way to try to work out the details of how to interface
the F/A-22 simulators in the DMO environment,” Valdez said. The Air Force
has a “very structured plan as to when they are going to interface various
weapon systems into the DMO backbone.”
Ideally, the Air Force would want to have the F/A-22 “interface with
DMO right around the time it goes operational, in 2005,” she said. That
may not happen, however, given the overall plan for DMO.
“The F-15, F-16 and AWACS are a priority” in the DMO program, Valdez
said. “The newer airframes will interface with DMO at an appropriate time,
when the aircraft is operational.”
It will be relatively painless to connect the F/A-22 trainer, she said, because
it was designed with a High Level Architecture (HLA) backbone.
Industry sources cautioned, however, that the DMO program, regardless of what
decisions the Air Force makes about the F/A-22 trainer, continues to be hampered
by the difficulties of having to interconnect technologies from multiple companies.
Two years ago, the Air Force awarded TRW (now Northrop Grumman) a contract to
integrate the F-15, F-16 and AWACS DMT trainers. The contracts for the trainers
already had been awarded several years before.
The integrator, said one source, “came in last and they should have been