APRIL 2016 | 19 and an electronic warfare operator, or EWO. Outside the tube sit the instructors, who simulate all of the communications and targets that the students will be investigating and tracking. In a scenario involving multiple air- and sea craft, for example, each instructor will coordinate simulated communications between the various planes, helicopters, ships and submarines. In an even more advanced scenario, a Weapons Tactics Trainer can be coupled with an Operational Flight Trainer— creating a Weapons System Trainer—so that pilots and operators share the same gaming area, with synchronized visuals, sensor data and communications. If an operator detects a ship on the radar, for example, the pilot in the OFT will see that same ship when in visual range. The students in the tube then can employ additional sensors as needed—allowing instructors to put it all together as if the whole crew were on one aircraft. Lt. John Falzetta, a pilot who has deployed twice to the 7th Fleet based at Kadena Air Base in Japan, once in a P-3 and more recently in a P-8A, said training in the Operational Flight Trainer helps make it feel “a lot more normal the first time you get into the aircraft.” The Michigan native still remembers Photos: (Clockwise from top left) Inside a P-8A Poseidon, where sonobuoys are stored; the main cabin of a P-8A; a Navy P-3 Orion returns to Cecil Airport after completing a mission.
Frontiers April 2016 Issue
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