L-3 Wins F/A-18 Hornet Simulator Orders, Advances Distributed Training
L-3 Communications’ Link Simulation and Training division received an initial $51.9 million contract from the Naval Air Systems Command to build six F/A-18C/D Tactical Operational Flight Trainers (TOFTs: 4 for single-seat F/A18C, 2 for two-seat F/A-18D) under the U.S. Navy’s new five-year F/A-18C/D Roadmap Procurement Program (RPP) initiative. As part of this program, the firm is also establishing a software action team tasked with inserting new training device capabilities, in order to keep the training system concurrent with the latest modifications made to the aircraft.
At the dsame time, their F/A-18C Distributed Mission Training (DMT) system, installed at Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore, CA, has been conditionally accepted by the U.S. Navy. The next step is to upgrade the currently fielded F/A-18C DMT system at NAS Oceana, VA…
Once fielded, both systems can conduct distributed, cross-country eight-ship networked training exercises. Plans also call for this advanced distributed training capability to be added to E-2C Hawkeye AWACS, P-3C Orion maritime patrol, EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare, and H-60 helicopter simulator platforms, to facilitate full interoperability and to support networked training exercises.
The F/A-18C DMT installations at NAS Lemoore and NAS Oceana each have four F/A-18C Tactical Operational Flight Trainers (TOFTs), briefing and debriefing rooms, and a mission operations center. After using real-world mission planning systems to conduct mission briefs, pilots move to the F/A-18C TOFTs to undertake their training exercise. Personnel in the mission operations center are able to oversee and control the networked training event. Once the mission comes to a close, Hornet pilots review mission event data captured during their flight to analyze team tactical performance.
All simulators are planned for delivery during the second quarter of 2008 to Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana, VA; NAS Lemoore, CA; NAS Beaufort, SC; and Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, TX. NAS Beaufort will receive the F/A-18D TOFTs.
Under the five-year F/A-18C/D RPP, L-3 also has options to build a total of 11 new TOFTs and two F/A-18 Deployable Readiness Trainers, as well as to modify 16 currently fielded F/A-18C/D TOFTs. Modification of the 16 currently fielded F/A-18C/D TOFTs is slated to begin in 2008 and conclude in 2009.
The L-3 TOFT release also expresses confidence in future Deployable Readiness Trainer orders to the USA’s Japanese bases at Iwakuni and Atsugi. If all options are exercised, the contract’s value could grow to approximately $93.4 million. See L-3 TOFT release, and distributed training systems release.