FMS Full Mission Simulator Extract from OUE Feb 2013

Unread postPosted: 06 Mar 2013, 22:43
by spazsinbad
The FMS Full Mission Simulator bits on this forum are scattered so this thread perhaps can tie future FMS items in the one place.

Director, Operational Test and Evaluation | F-35A Joint Strike Fighter
Readiness for Training Operational Utility Evaluation Feb 2013 ... 130215.pdf (0.7Mb)

Full Mission Simulators (FMS) are excellent; however, some deficiencies were noted with minor impacts on training.

The Full Mission Simulator (FMS) environment, including the contractor instructors and instructor workstations, was effective in training the students in the syllabus events and preparing them for flight, although correction of minor deficiencies would improve training effectiveness. Comments from the pilots and observations indicated that the simulator was an excellent training device, with higher fidelity than simulators used for training in legacy fighter aircraft. One of the four primary student pilots stated that it was “one of the best parts of the whole program.” However, the following three issues with the simulator training were identified by the student pilots, which adversely affected the effectiveness of the simulator.

- Student pilots identified deficiencies in the helmet used in the simulator (which is different than the helmet issued to pilots for the aircraft). The simulator uses a functional surrogate of the helmet used in the aircraft, which is not fit uniquely to each pilot’s head. Problems included fit (too tight), improper optical alignment of the helmet-mounted display information, blurry presentations, and excessive weight. Student pilots reported that the helmet caused headaches due to the poor alignment. Some of the student pilots used only one of the two optical sights (monocles) to avoid blurry or double vision.

- Simulation stability was also a deficiency, although the disruption to training was usually minimal. Most of the simulator training sessions involved emergency procedures to be “programmed in” to the flight profile and then handled by the student pilot to an acceptable conclusion. After addressing the emergency procedures, the contractor instructor pilot would reset the simulator to a normal configuration to continue the training event. The process of resetting the simulator did not always work effectively, and required repeated attempts on multiple occasions. The time spent resetting the simulator detracted from the effective training time and interrupted the logical training flow during some of the simulator sessions. One on occasion, however, the disruptions and resets resulted in the simulator training session being terminated and not effective (1 of 88 during the OUE period). The simulator event had to be rescheduled.

- Concerning the accuracy of the FSD to meet the execution of the simulator syllabus events, all student pilots rated the FSD as “Not Totally Adequate” for at least a portion of the simulator events. Pilots identified errors between the FSD, the pilot’s checklist, and annunciations of emergency conditions in the simulator. The JSF Operational Test Team (JOTT) submitted identified shortfalls in the FSD in deficiency reports to the JSF Program Office (JPO).

[Flight Series Data (FSD) publications and pilot checklists]

During end-of-course interviews, each student pilot stated that the simulators adequately prepared them for the flying training portion of the syllabus...."

RE: FMS Full Mission Simulator Extract from OUE Feb 2013

Unread postPosted: 07 Mar 2013, 05:11
by munny
Surely the pilots' own helmets would be used with the simulator or are they not issued until pilots have completed and passed the training?

RE: FMS Full Mission Simulator Extract from OUE Feb 2013

Unread postPosted: 07 Mar 2013, 05:29
by spazsinbad
Perhaps the first post above could have been tacked on there but anyway here is some info with the JPG missing because it was not uploaded directly but only hotlinked BAHhumbug I'll post the pic soonish: [Anyways youse'll see the HeathenRobboContraption Atop Pilot head to see what is worn in the FMS instead of the HMDS II]


This JPG link doan work no more but it is attached 'sort of' now: ... ulator.jpg

RE: FMS Full Mission Simulator Extract from OUE Feb 2013

Unread postPosted: 07 Mar 2013, 20:40
by spazsinbad
Nellis pilots take first step toward F-35 operational testing 07 Mar 2013 By Chrissy Cuttita ... TjrU5C4aOJ

"..."The simulators are our real success story," said Lt. Col. William Betts, 33rd Operations Support Squadron commander who has been on the initial cadre team since 2009. "It's refreshing to hear others say it is just like flying the F-35 (once they complete the first flight)."

Bishop echoed the same high fidelity of the full mission simulator here and said there is no comparison, especially when remembering his experience learning to fly the Strike Eagle.

"During my transition to F-15E, the simulator was like a black and white T.V. screen hooked up to a cockpit," he said. "It shows how far we've come in (pilot) training. It's humbling for me to be around this world class environment."..."

RE: FMS Full Mission Simulator Extract from OUE Feb 2013

Unread postPosted: 26 Jun 2013, 06:17
by spazsinbad
F-35C Pilots Praise Simulator’s Capabilities 24 Jun 2013 By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
"ARLINGTON, Va. – The Navy’s first F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighter squadron commanding officer instructor pilot says the aircraft’s cockpit simulator will be “light years ahead of earlier simulators.”

“The simulator is very good,” said Capt. John Enfield, commanding officer of the Navy’s F-35C fleet readiness squadron Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101. “Given the advanced capabilities that this aircraft brings to the fight, there are a lot of things that are best trained in the simulator anyway. From a basic flying skills standpoint it’s great, and from an advanced combat standpoint it is light years ahead of anything we’ve seen previously.”

Enfield briefed reporters in a June 24 teleconference at the squadron’s home at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., along Lt. Cmdr. Chris Tabert, a former F-35C developmental test pilot and currently the only qualified F-35C pilot in the squadron, and Capt. Paul Haas, vice commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin.

Tabert flew the first production F-35C, designated CF-06, from the Lockheed Martin plant in Fort Worth, Texas, to Eglin on June 22. The aircraft is one of the Low-Rate Initial Production 4 aircraft and is equipped with Block 2A software.

“The simulator here is unlike any simulator I’ve flown before,” Tabert said. “It’s high fidelity. All the tasks that are required to safely operate the aircraft can be done in the simulator. It’s very close to how the airplane actually flies. You have full 360-degree views. You can tank [aerial refuel] in it. We won’t have an issue training pilots predominantly in the simulator and having less time in the airplane.”

VFA-101 will be equipped with 15 F-35Cs within 18 to 24 months, with six or seven expected to be on strength by the end of this year. The first four F-35Cs assigned to the squadron eventually will participate in the aircraft’s Operational Test, according to Enfield. They already are equipped with wiring for the instrumentation required for the tests.

Four VFA-101 future instructor pilots have completed the F-35C academic and simulator syllabi and will begin flights in the F-35C as early as August, Enfield said. Four more F-35C pilots are in academic and simulator training.

VFA-101 also will train Marine Corps pilots in the F-35C beginning in 2015 or 2016.

VFA-101 eventually will take pilots to carrier qualifications after the new design of an F-35C tailhook is cleared for service. The hook will be tested by developmental test pilots in carrier landings next summer. Tabert said VFA-101 expects to begin carrier qualifications in mid-to-late 2015." ... 4-f3c.html

Unread postPosted: 26 Jun 2013, 07:30
by popcorn
It can't be all that great, surely.. still waiting to hear complaints about poor rear visibility like in the real thing.., :D

Unread postPosted: 02 Jul 2013, 12:13
by popcorn
Never realized this. ... html?wap=0

Laura Hussey "Because F35 simulator training is so advanced, it only takes six rides in the jet to get a pilot qualified."

Unread postPosted: 02 Jul 2013, 13:47
by spazsinbad
This was a quote in a similar story from same source at beginning of this year:

viewtopic.php?f=22&t=21719 (go end of page to):

First official F-35 training class begins Tuesday, January 15 2013
"...They'll move on to simulators, then complete their training with six flights in the F-35 cockpit." ... html?wap=0

Unread postPosted: 02 Jul 2013, 15:22
by popcorn
spazsinbad wrote:This was a quote in a similar story from same source at beginning of this year:

viewtopic.php?f=22&t=21719 (go end of page to):

First official F-35 training class begins Tuesday, January 15 2013
"...They'll move on to simulators, then complete their training with six flights in the F-35 cockpit." ... html?wap=0

Doesn't ring a bell for me but.. :notworthy:

Re: FMS Full Mission Simulator Extract from OUE Feb 2013

Unread postPosted: 30 Nov 2018, 20:51
by spazsinbad
Using the search text string Full + Mission + Simulator one may find HEAPS of references elsewhere but this one is it now.
Lockheed Martin Reduces Cost Of F-35 Mission Simulator
28 Nov 2018 Bill Carey

"ORLANDO, Florida—F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin says it has reduced the cost of the “full-mission simulator” used to train pilots on the fifth-generation fighter by 25%, or $3 million, per simulator since 2012....

...The manufacturer reported on the status of the F-35 simulator produced by its Orlando-based Training and Logistics Solutions (TLS) business on Nov. 27 during the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference here. Also briefed was the status of the fighter’s Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), which captures and analyzes aircraft condition data to support maintenance, fault-prediction and supply chain management of parts. The simulator has a 360-deg. visual display system and can be reconfigured for each of the three F-35 variants. Pilots complete roughly half of initial qualification flights in the device, Lockheed Martin says.

By 2020, Lockheed Martin expects to have delivered 100 F-35 simulators to U.S. military services and partner nations. During this time, it will also invest $30 million to modernize the F-35 virtual training environment based on emerging threats and drive concurrency between the training system and F-35 capability, said Amy Gowder, TLS vice president and general manager.

Next year will see F-35 Block 4 training system upgrades and the first networked simulators allowing for distributed mission training scenarios involving the F-35, the F-22 and fourth-generation fighters, she added.

Lockheed Martin is currently deploying ALIS version 3.0 software, which makes the system more user friendly for maintainers. An ALIS 3.1 release enables sovereign data management, allowing F-35 partner nations to protect certain information, such as pilot names."

Source: ... -simulator

Re: FMS Full Mission Simulator Extract from OUE Feb 2013

Unread postPosted: 01 Dec 2018, 04:49
by spazsinbad
Lockheed Martin Reducing Cost of F-35 Simulator
27 Nov 2018 Yasmin Tadjdeh

"ORLANDO, Fla. — Lockheed Martin is reducing the price of the F-35 joint strike fighter’s full mission simulators by utilizing technologies such as additive manufacturing....

...“Just this year we've … been implementing additive manufacturing and some improved production techniques,” said Amy Gowder, Lockheed’s vice president and general manager for training and logistics solutions’ division. “We're taking 25 percent of the cost out of the simulator.”

The effort — which includes 3D printing of the simulator’s cockpits ­— is projected to save $11 million over the next five years, the company noted. It will reduce components necessary for the cockpit from 800 parts to five, a Lockheed spokesperson said....

...driving concurrency between the training system and the F-35 aircraft, she said. “Concurrency with the aircraft is one need I see across all my platforms and all my programs,” she said. “The capabilities are evolving more rapidly and deploying them through agile methods to the aircraft [is necessary]. … The trainer needs to stay in sync so that you can train as soon as the capabilities are ready.”

The simulators will also be upgraded with a new virtual training environment that is based on emerging threats, Gowder added.... Software upgrades can take as little as a week, she said. Hardware adjustment timelines will be dependent on individual countries schedules and desire to retrofit systems, she added.

Lockheed is also adding capability throughout 2019 including the initial distributed mission training, or DMT, capability and software block 4 training system upgrades. The DMT will allow the military to “link an F-35 with an F-22 or other fourth-gen fighters in a simulated environment with the trainers fighting together,” Gowder said."

Source: ... -simulator

Re: FMS Full Mission Simulator Extract from OUE Feb 2013

Unread postPosted: 02 Jul 2020, 00:49
by spazsinbad
5th Gen Training for a 5th Gen Fighter: F-35 Distributed Mission Training is a Go!
01 Jul 2020 LM PR

"An F-35 pilot at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, enters the F-35 Full Mission Simulator to conduct a training mission. At the same time, more than 5,000 miles away at Misawa Air Force Base, Japan, an F-16 pilot settles into an F-16 simulator to participate in the same training exercise. For the first time, the two will train together in the same simulated environment, preparing for what they will face in the battlefield. Distributed Mission Training (DMT) makes this possible.

Connecting F-35 Pilots like Never Before
F-35 DMT connects F-35 Full Mission Simulators (FMS) with other users in a geographically dispersed environment to create a shared virtual training experience. Sound familiar? It should. Much like online multi-player gaming, which allows users to play and connect despite physical distance, DMT allows pilots to train together, in real-time, to conduct large force exercises using multiple U.S. Air Force aircraft platforms. To date, compatible aircraft platforms include the F-35, F-22, F-16CM, F-15C, and E-3C Sentry. By combining these aircraft into a single simulation, the military can now train like they fight.

Before F-35 DMT, F-35 simulators only allowed up to four pilots at a facility to fly together in simulated combat. Think of it like playing a video game with three friends on the same console. Now, DMT links pilots at Nellis AFB to pilots at other bases through an existing distributed network enabling simulated training events with existing 4th generation and 5th generation platforms, taking online multi-player gaming technology from your living room to the battlefield.

Sounds Simple? Unlike online-multi-player gaming where everyone is playing the game together over a network, multiple training devices produced by different contractors with unique software make up the Air Force distributed training network. Meaning, the devices may “speak the same language” but depending on the implementation, the dialect could be entirely different. To communicate across all devices, a lot of data translation needs to occur. Further compounding the challenge of creating a fair fight, each system brings additional complexity with its response to simulated threat environments, unique program data security restrictions, and even subtle differences in visualizations of weather conditions.

Taking Training to the Next Level
The next generation of pilots grew up in a technologically advanced world, with the latest gaming consoles and endless computer and internet access at their fingertips. We can’t expect them to want anything less when it comes to how they train for aviation. With F-35 DMT, pilots are getting exactly what they need to command the battlespace of tomorrow.

“Achieving F-35 DMT is huge for the F-35 training program and for Combat Air Forces (CAF) training, in general,” said Ian Newcomb, F-35 DMT Lead Systems Engineer. “It’s the first time that pilots across the USAF can conduct virtual training events with the F-35.”

“Not only are we benefitting F-35 pilots who are learning new techniques and tactics with other aircraft such as the F-22, F-16CM, F-15C, and E-3C, but we are also advancing training for those other aircraft operators who get to virtually fly for the first time with the F-35,” he said.

As additional capabilities are added to the fleet of CAF aircraft and threats are developed by the adversary, virtual training requirements will require continuous evolution and improvement. With help from the DMT capability, the F-35 training enterprise continues to evolve, so that the warfighter maintains mission readiness with the rest of the fleet against the ever-evolving adversary landscape."

Photo: https://a855196877272cb14560-2a4fa819a6 ... __main.jpg

Source: ... raining-is

F-35 Distributed Mission Training

Re: FMS Full Mission Simulator Extract from OUE Feb 2013

Unread postPosted: 26 Aug 2020, 13:25
by spazsinbad
For US Air Force pilots, the toughest training flights are going virtual
25 Aug 2020 Valerie Insinna

"NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — A new simulator campus at Nellis Air Force Base could be key for the U.S. Air Force as it grapples with the question of how it can train pilots against complex threats like Russia and China at a budget-friendly cost. On Aug. 17, the Air Force opened the doors of the Virtual Test and Training Center, or VTTC, a new, $38 million building where pilots will practice advanced tactics in a simulated environment that replicates war against a near-peer nation.

“When you think about great power competition and where we might have to fight — shipping out to fight a China or Russia, particularly — there is no live training venue for the joint force, certainly for the Air Force, that’s big enough, that has the threat density that can replicate what China or Russia can do,” said Maj. Gen. Chuck Corcoran, who leads the U.S. Air Force’s Air Warfare Center at Nellis.

While live exercises will remain an important component of pilot training, the VTTC will give the Air Force a way to simulate a vast battlespace populated by high-end threats. Users will be able to network with other pilots on the system — who fly F-16s, F-22s, F-35s and F-15Es, with perhaps more to come — and fly complex missions against virtual enemies that are impossible to emulate in live training exercises like Red Flag.

The VTTC building, which Defense News toured during an Aug. 21 visit to the base, is currently empty. But it won’t stay that way for long, said Lt. Col. Chris Duncan, an F-35 operational test pilot and commander of Detachment 1, 29th Training Systems Squadron....

...The Air Force is deliberating how best it can expand the VTTC’s capabilities over time on a limited budget. Among the factors under consideration is whether to buy additional simulators, such as ones for the new F-15EX. It may roll out the Nellis Mission Operations Network, on which the VTTC will run, to other bases such as Whitman Air Force Base in Missouri — the home to the service’s only stealth bomber.

There is also discussion about how to integrate the simulators on the network with live aircraft flying on the Nevada Test and Training Range, which would allow the VTTC to project synthetic threats to jets practicing midair tactics.... 8) [THAT'LL BE EXCITING!] :shock:

...Instead of simulators that provide a completely accurate cockpit experience, the service is looking to save money by prioritizing simulators that can provide the experience of advanced missions, even if the simulator imagery or cockpit experience isn’t completely realistic...."

Photo: "An F-35 pilot trains in a simulator. Recently, the Air Force opened the doors of the Virtual Test and Training Center, a building where pilots will practice advanced tactics in a simulated environment that replicates war against a near-peer nation. (Lockheed Martin)" ... uality(100)/

Source: ... g-virtual/

Re: FMS Full Mission Simulator Extract from OUE Feb 2013

Unread postPosted: 15 Sep 2020, 16:38
by spazsinbad
US Air Force standing up two new simulation facilities
15 Sep 2020 Aaron Mehta

"WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force Test Center plans to stand up more than 130,000 square feet of new simulation capability by the end of fiscal 2023, with the hope of improving tests for existing and future high-end assets.

The first location, at Edwards Air Force Base, California, features 72,000 square feet of space primarily designed for developmental testing, Eileen Bjorkman, the test center’s executive director, told reporters Monday. The official added that the service plans to break ground in February 2021. The second location, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, will be 52,000 square feet, with a groundbreaking in November.

Once the Edwards facility is complete, the plan is to first focus on the F-35 and F-22 fighter jets for follow-on testing and to “develop advanced tactics,” Bjorkman said. But both sites are designed for flexibility so multiple systems run through each modeling and simulation location. And it is possible the new locations will have cross-service benefit.

“We are working very closely with the Navy,” Bjorkman said. “I would anticipate in the future that we will be able to connect the systems together, both Navy and Air Force. We have done that in the past and in other facilities, and I would anticipate [that in the future.] But we’re definitely building the architecture in such a way that we’ll be able to connect those systems.”

While there are no plans to connect the systems with international partners right now, “we’re building the architecture in such a way that we could bring in” those nations, she added...." [then raison d'etre]

Source: ... acilities/

Re: FMS Full Mission Simulator Extract from OUE Feb 2013

Unread postPosted: 02 Dec 2020, 18:25
by doge
8) ... -and-maint
Five Ways F-35 Training is Improving Mission Readiness for Pilots and Maintainers
December 01, 2020
It’s the morning of your first solo flight in the most advanced fighter jet ever created – the F-35. You’re excited and anxious because today culminates weeks of training and preparation. Once onsite, you get assigned your tail number. After hours of meticulous preparation and briefing, you head to the airplane knowing your maintenance crew chief has checked everything tip to tail getting it ready for flight. It will be flawless.
After you walk around the jet, you climb the ladder. This is the first time you’ll fly without an instructor pilot behind you. “Have I prepared and studied enough?” you think as you climb the first step. But, by the second step, you can see into the cockpit and feel at ease because the jet looks identical to the F-35 simulator you’ve been flying in for the past month.
Checklist procedures are complete. You’re strapped and sealed in, ready for your first sortie. The integrated power pack is on and you select ENGINE-RUN. You feel the vibration and hum of the engine. You’re connected only to the crew chief and after your taxi checks you’re cleared to disconnect. It’s just you and the wingman now on the radio. The ground crew cuts the tether, and you taxi out. You push the power up and hear the roar of the engine. The raw power of the jet is exhilarating.
As you begin to move, you lock eyes with your crew chief standing at attention and saluting you. It’s an unspoken agreement. A reminder that this is a serious business, but you are both professionals who have prepared for this moment. Taxiing down to the runway is second nature because you’ve seen this view dozens of times before in the simulator. Checklists complete and cleared for takeoff; you release the brakes, engage the afterburner, and start the takeoff roll, accelerating rapidly. Passing 100 knots – about 115 miles or 185 kilometers per hour - all systems are good. You have a moment to relax and realize what is happening.You smile as you bring it into the air - nose up and wheels leaving the ground. Your training kicks in. You’re ready for the mission at hand.
How do pilots and maintainers prepare for days like this?
    When recalling his first time flying the F-35, retired Luke AFB Wing Commander Brigadier General and current Lockheed Martin Global Sustainment Senior Manager Todd “Tales” Canterbury said, “It’s amazing how comfortable I felt. There was never a doubt when looking for the right switch and it felt like I had been flying the airplane for years. I never forgot it was the instructor pilot and my maintenance crew who got me there. I’m proud to lead the team who’s training the next generation of pilots and maintainers knowing that the fidelity of our devices will prepare them for the battlespace.”
Today, we’re creating an even better experience for pilots and maintainers to fly and sustain the jet.
Here are five ways Lockheed Martin is improving F-35 mission readiness:
    1. Interoperability for Dispersed Virtual Training. F-35 Distributed Mission Training (DMT) connects F-35 Full Mission Simulators (FMS) with other users in a geographically dispersed environment to create a shared virtual training experience. Sound familiar? It should. Much like online multi-player gaming, which allows users to play and connect despite physical distance, DMT allows pilots to train together in real-time. These large force exercises use multiple aircraft platforms to prepare for joint, all domain operations. The U.S. Air Force currently has DMT at Nellis Air Force base and will be followed by the U.S. Navy at NAS Lemoore and the U.S. Marine Corps at Miramar in 2021. We expect to deliver this capability to the UK in 2021.
    2. 90% Availability for On-Demand Mission Readiness. F-35 training devices need to be readily available to meet pilot and maintainer readiness and capacity needs. Our simulators achieved a >90% Full Mission Capable Rate (FMC) in 2020. We’ve made dramatic improvements to put in place a high-velocity supply chain to meet the growing demand for simulators and software development. As the capabilities of the aircraft continue to advance, we are ensuring the training devices keep pace. Our training system ensures pilots and maintainers can go through basic to advanced scenarios in preparation for qualifications and the real fight.
    3. Making Data-Driven Decisions is a Priority. Tens of thousands of data points are collected each week on the F-35 Training program. Using data such as daily device status, training effectiveness, cost drivers and degraders, spares analysis and student throughput, we are developing the first of its kind F-35 Training Analytics Sustainment Dashboard and Scorecards. This will cut out manual work leading to increased productivity and reduced cost with an estimated savings of hundreds of hours per year.
    4. Developing Next-Generation Training at the Point of Need. We are committed to taking maintenance training from the classroom to the flight line. We’re developing a Next-Gen F-35 Mixed Reality Maintenance Training prototype using our Maintain3D Virtual Maintenance Training software. This will allow students to practice in a virtual environment reducing risk and freeing up the actual aircraft. This on-demand training can be tailored to specific users wherever, whenever they need it.
    5. More Software Automation Increases Training Efficiency. As we continue to evolve the F-35 to counter new threats, our training must evolve with it. We’re tearing down traditional development silos improving speed, reliability, and frequency of software releases to the enterprise at a reduced cost. In the past, deploying training software across our fielded devices took over a year, upgrading in batches and handled manually due to classification. Now, we’re automating software installations and developing electronic means to deploy classified releases. Pilots train with the same software they fly in the aircraft ensuring mission readiness. ... 99.article
Lockheed Martin moves to connect F-35 simulators in USA and UK in 2021
By Garrett Reim2 December 2020
Lockheed Martin plans to connect Full Mission Simulators in the USA and UK starting in 2021, allowing US Air Force (USAF) and Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots to virtually train with one another across international borders.
The Distributed Mission Training system, which was developed by Lockheed Martin in partnership with the F-35 Joint Program Office and the USAF, allows pilots of several different aircraft types to practice flying together in separate simulators.
In July, for the first time, the service successfully linked simulators for the Lockheed Martin F-35, F-22 and F-16 fighters, as well as the Boeing E-3 Sentry airborne warning and control system, in a virtual combat training test at Nellis AFB in Nevada.
Now, the USAF aims to deploy and connect more Full Mission Simulators. Next year Lockheed Martin plans to add the Distributed Mission Training system capability to F-35 simulators at Naval Air Station Lemoore in central California, US Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in southern California and in the UK at RAF Marham.
“Much like a multiplayer game online, which allows users to play and connect despite the physical distance, [the Distributed Mission Training system] allows pilots to train together in real time,” says Todd Canterbury, senior manager for Lockheed Martin global sustainment on 1 December. “You can have F-35 pilots from Hill [AFB] fly with F-16 pilots from Shaw [AFB], fly with F-22 pilots from Langley [AFB], all being controlled by an AWACS controller in the UK.”
Despite thousands of miles between them, Lockheed Martin says simulations should have “negligible” latency. The company also says the connections have been cyber hardened to prevent eavesdropping by adversaries.
Lockheed Martin says operators of the F-35 are using simulators more and more to train pilots. For example, because the fighter is a single-seat aircraft, and there is not an instructor pilot onboard to help guide a trainee on first flight, simulator practice helps increase safety.
“Back when I first flew this airplane, we required the first sortie just to be a taxi,” says Canterbury, a former USAF fighter pilot who went by the call sign “Tales”. “The pilots and the maintainers would plan and prepare just as if it were a real sortie. But in the end, we taxi to the runway and taxi back. Entirely unfulfilling.”
By training for about 30h on the Full Mission Simulator, pilot trainees are now able to get airborne on their first sortie in the F-35, he says. “The services are also looking at innovative solutions to get initial qualifications in the jet without using the jet”, Canterbury says.

Prior to joining Lockheed Martin in July 2020, Canterbury was commander of the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke AFB in Arizona. He says during his time with the USAF about 60% of pilot flight hours were done in real F-35 aircraft and 40% were done in simulators.
“But, they’re seriously looking at tilting that model on its head and performing more in the simulator than in the live-fly environment,” he says.
“Some of the reasons for that is the fifth-generation airplanes we’re flying have simply outgrown our fourth-generation ranges. We no longer have the airspace or the detection ranges available to us. We no longer have the ability to fly supersonic at will, as much as we need to with this airplane, these tactics,” he says. “Additionally, there’s just certain things that we don’t want to fly in the open air environment, because we’re always under the watchful eye of our adversaries.”
Moreover, the USAF’s F-35A is enormously expensive to operate – about $44,000 per flight hour, based on one estimate – and so any time that a pilot can spend in a simulator, instead of the actual aircraft, saves money (For its part, Lockheed Martin says it still believes the cost per flight hour of the F-35A will be reduced to $25,000 by 2025).
Operating costs can quickly pile up when it comes to large scale war games like Red Flag, an advanced aerial combat training exercise that encompasses dozens of aircraft, multiple nations and takes place several times per year at Nellis AFB and Eielson AFB in Alaska.
“Simulation is ideal for large scale exercise training reducing risk and freeing up the actual aircraft,” says Lockheed Martin. “With simulation, our goal is to provide a range of potential mission scenarios to prepare pilots and maintainers for what they may face in combat. In addition, virtual training exercises are ideal for scenarios that may be cost prohibitive in the live training environment.”