upload software updates on the flight simulators for verification and testing before it is uploaded in the aircraft. Sullivan noted that in at least one instance, this approach revealed a problem in the software, with engineers correcting it before the update was loaded into the aircraft systems.
More Simulator Time As a result of the high level of simulator fidelity, approximately 65 percent of the current V-22 primary flight training syllabus can be conducted in the simulators, Edmunds said. When the computer-based courseware is added in, it amounts to close to 80 percent of Osprey training that is conducted outside of the aircraft, he pointed out. A considerable amount of advanced mission rehearsal training is also conducted in the simulators at Kirtland and at the squadron level for both services, he added. “More focus on simulation was directed by the Blue Ribbon Panel that reviewed the V-22 program and Marine Corps Headquarters after the accidents in 2000,” Edmunds said. “The direction was to put more training in the simulated environment instead of the aircraft, and this provided a big advantage for the program.” Typically ten percent of the size of a Marine Corps fleet of a particular aircraft is reserved for the Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS), which normally would mean 40 aircraft for the MV22, Edmunds explained. With more emphasis on simulation, the Marine Corps was able to draw down that number of aircraft in the FRS to about 21, he said. This is a significant cost-savings in the number of aircraft, meaning that instead of being in the training fleet, these aircraft are instead operational out in the squadrons.
According to Sullivan, the lower number of training aircraft in the FRS adds up to approximately $1.2 billion in savings for the program. In addition, because so much of the training syllabus calls for training in the simulator, it takes six weeks less time to train a V-22 pilot than to train a CH-46 helicopter pilot. According to Sullivan, this equates to a savings per pilot of about $450,000. If 2,000 pilots are trained through the life of the V-22 program, this adds up to another $900 million in savings by his estimation. And in spite of the shorter training time, the simulator-based V-22 training program reportedly is producing better pilots.
Networking At the advanced squadron level of training, the V-22 simulators can be networked together for distributed training exercises within the squadrons and for joint exercises with other services. According to Joe Cruz, Training IPT lead at Kirtland, most of the advanced training focus is on electronic warfare, air refueling and mission deployment and rehearsal. The CV-22 simulators at Kirtland and Hurlburt have also been able to participate in joint distributed mission training exercises with other services through the Distributed Mission Operations Center (DMOC) at Kirtland, he said. According to Brad Smith, former MV-22 Simulator Team Lead at Pax River, and Jerry Brown, MV-22 Simulator IPT lead at New River, the MV-22 simulators were originally built with interoperability capabilities. The New River sims are networked locally and soon will have the capability to link up with other Marine simulators via the service’s Tactical Environment Network for combined force training.
Keeping Current The Training IPT includes a Training Continuum Integration Lead, responsible for the processes and tools that have been established to maintain the concurrency of the training system with the aircraft. It’s a major emphasis for the program, since that’s one of the biggest problems for aircraft training, particularly because the Osprey is still an evolving aircraft. “The configuration of the Osprey is not the major challenge, since the aircraft is easy to fly,” Edmunds said.” Our biggest challenge is maintaining concurrency with the aircraft across our entire training organization. That’s why we have such a large emphasis on that process, especially since the Osprey is changing and evolving at such a rapid pace.” ms&t
Getting Their Feet Wet Sailors and Marines aboard the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) will have their chance to make history later this spring as the first ship to deploy with the MV-22B Osprey. Bataan will embark Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 263 with a complement of 10 Ospreys, providing increased flexibility over the CH-46E Sea Knight and CH-46D Sea Stallion in their ability to transfer equipment and troops from ship to shore. In early 2005, Bataan started training and testing the MV-22. During the past four years, a full team came together to prepare the ship and her crew for this historical deployment.
MS&T MAGAZINE • ISSUE 2/2009