I/ITSEC NEWS: Lockheed Martin Debuts New Version of F-35 Simulator (UPDATED)

By Mikayla Easley

Lockheed Martin photo

Orlando, Fla. — Lockheed Martin has unveiled a new training simulator for the F-35 joint strike fighter that company executives says will offer both reduced size and cost..

The F-35 mission rehearsal trainer-lightning integrated training environment, or MRT-LITE, has a 90 percent reduced hardware footprint compared to the F-35 full mission simulator, according to the contractor.

“MRT-LITE represents an additional capability that we have forecasted as a need to increase capacity at training sites,” Erik Etz, senior manager of new business, strategy and roadmaps at Lockheed Martin, said Nov. 30 on the sidelines of the National Training and Simulation Association's annual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference in Orlando, Florida. NTSA is an affiliate of the National Defense Industrial Association.

Eight of the MRT-LITE platforms can fit in a facility space that could house just one full mission simulator, according to a company fact sheet.

The platform can be integrated into existing training facilities. Additionally, the device is easily transportable for deployments and can fit onboard ships, Etz said.

The entire platform fits into a 10x10 space, he added. The system includes three screens, glass cockpit handles, touchscreen devices for functionality, and other capabilities needed to simulate F-35 mission and rehearsal tasks.

“You can still raise landing gear, do the engine run switches — all those kinds of things you would normally do in a cockpit trainer,” he said. “It’s just a much-reduced hardware footprint to provide both a space savings and affordability option for our customers.”

However, the MRT-LITE does not support a pilot’s field of view from the rear, he noted. Additionally, Lockheed Martin is looking for feedback from F-35 customers on the platform before it adds augmented or virtual reality elements through 360-degree head-mounted displays. Lockheed is the prime contractor for the joint strike fighter, which is being purchased by the U.S. military as well as about a dozen international allies and partners.

Along with its smaller hardware footprint, the MRT-LITE utilizes Lockheed Martin’s distributed mission training technology, which links pilots across military platforms and supports training in joint domain environments, according to a company fact sheet.

Meanwhile, the simulator leverages technology that reduces procurement and sustainment costs. While Etz declined to disclose the platform’s price tag, he said it was “significantly lower” than a full mission simulator.

Although no contracts for the MRT-LITE have yet been signed, Lockheed has seen significant interest in the system from both the United States and international customers, said Raashi Quattlebaum, the company's vice president of F-35 training and logistics.

“More pilots can be trained, and our customers are screaming for more and more training — internationally and domestically,” she said. “This will allow them to get more people trained, [and] it will also be an affordable solution and it’s portable.”

A previous version of this article misidentified the dimensions of the F-35 simulator can fit in. This story has been updated.

Topics: Training and Simulation

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