The US Air National Guard 146th Airlift Wing has begun the construction of a new military transport flight training simulator in the Channel Islands, California.
The site will be integrated with the Weapons System Trainer Reconfigurable C-130J platform (WST 12R) to hone the skills of C-130J Super Hercules pilots across the service.
According to the national guard, the WST 12R offers a broader range of training configurations for the force’s C-130J community compared to previous simulators.
“Having this simulator here at Channel Islands will provide more efficient and realistic training for our aircrew, and as the C-130J Western Region simulator, it will also benefit other units from across the nation who will travel to Channel Islands for training,” 146th Airlift Wing Commander Col. Lisa Nemeth stated at the ground-breaking ceremony.
“WST 12R’s block enhancements with modular, rapidly configurable options will immediately benefit C-130J flying wings, including the aircrews from the California Air National Guard’s 129th Rescue Wing at Moffett Field, which operates HC-130J Combat King II aircraft.”
Cost-Effective Pilot Trainer
The WST 12R is a cost-effective approach to flight training, enabling users on various bases to practice with related exercises simultaneously.
“Based on historical data, we predict that WST 12R will significantly reduce the travel, fuel, and training traveling costs by an estimated $6.3 million annually,” 146th Airlift Wing Vice Commander Col. Christopher Dougherty explained.
“This simulator will virtually connect to other simulators and training locations to conduct formation airdrop training over a secure network.”
C-130J in National Wildfire Suppression
In addition to transport flight competency, the WST 12R will hone the national guard’s firefighting skills by providing the first Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) virtual training profile.
The MAFFS mission is a joint effort between the US Department of Defense and the US Forest Service that has been producing training, operational procedures, and associated equipment to integrate military tanker aircraft into national wildfire suppressors since 1971.
“These training profiles will closely simulate flight, weight, and atmospheric conditions that MAFFS aircrews encounter during wildland fire suppression efforts,” Dougherty said.
“The new simulator will give aircrews the skills to manage emergencies with more proficiency and success, thereby improving safety and mission accomplishment.”