October 17, 2011 (by Heather Kelly) - Lockheed Martin delivered and installed the first weapons load training device at the F-35 integrated pilot-and-maintenance training center (ITC) at Eglin Air Force Base's 33rd Fighter Wing.
TSgt. Jeff Taggart, of Det. 19, 372nd Training Squadron, maneuvers the training weapon underneath the recently delivered F-35 Lightning II Weapons Loading Trainer. Navy PO1. Greg Steiner, of the 359th Training Squadron, guides it into its permanent home at the 33rd FW's Academic Training Center. Eric Litton, a Lockheed Martin weapons instructor, monitors Marine Sgt. Joel Perkins, of the 359th Training Squadron, directing Joint Tech Data procedures utilizing the Portable Maintenance Aid (laptop). Capt. Mike Byrd, of the ATC staff, evaluates the load process. The ATC is the schoolhouse of the F-35 Integrated Training Center for pilot and maintenance Joint Strike Fighter training in all three of Department of Defense aircraft variants.
Configured in all three variants of the F-35 Lightning II, the system allows maintenance students to hone their skills loading munitions, fuel tanks and missile systems onto the aircraft. The system is the first of up to five possible weapons load trainers to be delivered to the ITC.
Designed to be identical to the F-35 aircraft, the weapons load training simulators enable training to take place without removing aircraft from the flight schedule. As part of F-35 maintainer training, the systems will complement classroom academics and additional hands-on experience.
"We are focused on delivering an agile training capability to the newest crop of fifth-generation pilots and maintainers," said Joanne Puglisi, director of F-35 training and support at Lockheed Martin’s Global Training and Logistics business. "By tailoring devices and sharing resources across the training domain, we will provide even greater affordability for the services and our F-35 partner countries."
This is the latest step in final preparation of the F-35 ITC. Earlier this year, the first two F-35 full mission simulators were installed, joining the aircraft systems maintenance trainer, the ejection seat maintenance trainer, the mission rehearsal trainer and pilot training aids. The full mission simulator system is the highest fidelity trainer in the F-35 pilot-training-device suite, accurately replicating all F-35 sensors and weapons deployment.
The F-35 ITC at Eglin AFB
will be home to the latest courseware, electronic classrooms, simulators and flight events. A balance of skill and knowledge training is woven into the program with interactive courseware, desktop simulators and high-fidelity training devices.