Thanks to Boeing’s high fidelity visual T-45 simulator, Naval flight officers (NFO) at Naval Air Station Pensacola experience sophisticated virtual air missions without even leaving the ground.
Phil Souders is Boeing’s program manager for the T-45 Undergraduate Military Flight Officer Ground Based Training Systems. He describes the trainer as, “way more than a flight/navigation simulator. It is a high fidelity “Operational Flight Trainer (OFT)” that provides an APG-73-like radar with air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, electronic warfare, synthetic targets, high fidelity low level routes and airfields, carrier training, high fidelity out the window visual with full environmental simulation, control loading and motion seats.”
This Boeing-built “backseat” simulator replicates the navigation and weapons systems found inside the cockpit of the T-45 aircraft. The OFT is flown by an instructor located behind the cockpit at the operating console, where the instructor can also change the environment or in-flight event during the NFO’s training sessions. This allows the NFO to fully concentrate on his navigation and weapons system responsibilities.
This training system reduces the cost per flight hour and offers the integration of low-cost, realistic radar training for NFOs. Once they graduate as backseat weapons systems operators from Naval Air Station at Pensacola, the NFOs continue on to operate the weapons and electronic warfare systems for F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler squadrons stationed around the globe.