USA — F‑35 training center begins formal training

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) — While cel­e­brat­ing each F‑35 Light­ning II arrival, the inte­grat­ed joint strike fight­er train­ing team also recent­ly opened the doors for the first Air Force cer­ti­fi­ca­tion cours­es on the logis­ti­cal sup­port behind the nation’s newest weapons plat­form.

Tech. Sgt. Bran­don Sul­li­van uses a portable main­te­nance device loaded with joint tech­ni­cal data that’s plugged into an F‑35 Light­ning II train­er April 3, 2012, dur­ing a weapons famil­iar­iza­tion course at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The 17-day course was the first weapons course com­plet­ed since Eglin AFB’s F‑35 Aca­d­e­m­ic Train­ing Cen­ter began for­mal train­ing Mar 19. Sul­li­van is an air­craft arma­ment sys­tems tech­ni­cian assigned to the 33rd Air­craft Main­te­nance Squadron at Eglin AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo/Maj. Karen Roganov)
Click to enlarge

The 33rd Fight­er Wing has eight basic famil­iar­iza­tion cours­es now in ses­sion at the aca­d­e­m­ic train­ing cen­ter with cours­es cur­rent­ly sched­uled through ear­ly next year. Approx­i­mate­ly 100 main­te­nance stu­dents from three branch­es of ser­vice began the inau­gur­al class­es March 19. 

“This is huge­ly sig­nif­i­cant for all ser­vices because we are get­ting our main­tain­ers prepped for when we are ful­ly stood-up for F‑35 train­ing in the near future,” said Col. Andrew Toth, the 33rd FW com­man­der. “The class­es are anoth­er excit­ing step for­ward in the 2012 exe­cu­tion year for F‑35 training.” 

Every step has an effect on the future of these new programs. 

“What we do now hinges on the progress of joint tech­ni­cal data ver­i­fi­ca­tion for the F‑35’s main­te­nance pro­ce­dures, vir­tu­al-real­i­ty train­er soft­ware val­i­da­tions and upgrades, as well as course deliv­ery meth­ods com­ing online,” said Senior Mas­ter Sgt. Richard Brown, the F‑35 ATC super­in­ten­dent. “Up until this point, we’ve been con­duct­ing small group try outs with the inte­grat­ed main­te­nance team here to ver­i­fy the sys­tem is meet­ing the require­ments needed.” 

After the team’s try-out process was com­plet­ed, ATC per­son­nel were able to offer Air Force stu­dents their first cer­tifi­cate of com­ple­tion in F‑35 cours­es for struc­tures, avion­ics, weapons and crew chief career fields. Crew chiefs assigned to the wing already gained famil­iar­iza­tion of flight line tasks and per­formed duties on the flight line asso­ci­at­ed with gen­er­at­ing sor­ties. Sea­soned main­tain­ers cross­ing over to the new air­craft plat­form were select­ed to attend the first class­es. Marine Corps stu­dents hail from careers in ord­nance, avion­ics, pow­er line and air­frames. To share the resources of instruc­tors and train­ers, the ATC runs two class shifts with sched­ules occa­sion­al­ly end­ing as late as 1 a.m.

“The piple­line stu­dents, those learn­ing to be main­tain­ers, are antic­i­pat­ed to train at the ATC ear­ly 2014,” Brown said. “Most of the stu­dents going through will be instruc­tors when they stand up field train­ing detachments.” 

At the ATC, stu­dents have access to com­put­er sim­u­la­tors tout­ing near-real­is­tic inter­ac­tion with the jet aid­ed by a dig­i­tal “avatar.” Addi­tion­al­ly, vir­tu­al train­ing is pro­vid­ed on life-size mock-ups of F‑35 components. 

Lock­heed Martin’s F‑35 plat­form includes the air­craft itself as well as the logis­tics and sus­tain­ment sup­port sys­tems, designed to keep each plane in the air and ful­ly oper­a­tional. Course­ware is built using a flex­i­ble mod­u­lar design, mak­ing it pos­si­ble to train war fight­ers from three dif­fer­ent ser­vices and eight inter­na­tion­al part­ners on three F‑35 vari­ants with­out cre­at­ing mul­ti­ple train­ing suites of vari­ant-spe­cif­ic hard­ware and soft­ware, accord­ing to Lock­heed Martin’s web­site. This total train­ing solu­tion lets trainees get immersed in the vir­tu­al expe­ri­ence before mov­ing to the real thing. 

Stu­dents cur­rent­ly enrolled are going through the phas­es of train­ing designed by ATC personnel. 

“The first week of train­ing for all spe­cial­ties is basi­cal­ly the same,” said Bri­an Vohl, a Lock­heed Mar­tin weapons instruc­tor. “The desk­top train­ers, such as the Air­craft Sys­tems Main­te­nance Train­er, require each stu­dent to fol­low the pro­ce­dures of check­ing out vir­tu­al tools, read­ing the main­te­nance check­lists and indi­vid­u­al­ly per­form­ing each task.” 

After ASMT train­ing, the stu­dents break off into their spe­cif­ic dis­ci­plines to train vir­tu­al­ly at the ATC before head­ing out to the oper­a­tional side of the wing where the fifth-gen­er­a­tion fight­er is housed with each service’s fly­ing squadron. 

“You can read about it all day, but you actu­al­ly need a feel for the air­craft, work envi­ron­ment and know how the parts of the jet move,” said Staff Sgt. Fran­tavi­ous Doo­ley, a weapons crew chief assigned to the 57th Air­craft Main­te­nance Squadron at Nel­lis AFB, Nev. 

The class­room expe­ri­ence com­bined with flight line oper­a­tions are ben­e­fi­cial for learn­ing about air­craft safe­ty, in par­tic­u­lar the warn­ings and pre­cau­tions out­lined in the joint tech­ni­cal, he said. 

Class­mates from Air Force flight test units will take lessons learned here home to imple­ment F‑35 sus­tain­ment at their units. Hill AFB, Utah, is slat­ed to be a depot main­te­nance site and Nel­lis AFB and Edwards AFB are oper­a­tional test sites. 

“I like the process; the new approach is 100-per­cent com­pli­ant with learn­ing tasks,” said Tech. Sgt. Johnathan Mey­er, an F‑35 weapons instruc­tor assigned to the 359th Train­ing Squadron here. “Fin­ish­ing off the com­pre­hen­sive approach to train­ing, the stu­dent gets air­craft hands-on train­ing at an active flight line.” 

Mey­er said he attend­ed the ATC weapons class to eval­u­ate and lend feed­back of the over­all train­ing pro­gram based on his five-year exper­tise as an instruc­tor for Air Force main­te­nance tech­ni­cal training. 

“When train­ing is in full swing, approx­i­mate­ly 2,100 main­tain­ers and 100 pilot stu­dents can be processed through the ATC annu­al­ly, with 900 peo­ple at any giv­en time on cam­pus,” Toth said. “Class­es last from one to three months depend­ing upon the course.” 

U.S. Air Force 

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →