LITTLE ROCK, Ark., 15 Sept. 2009. Boeing [NYSE: BA] completed delivery of the U.S. Air Force's first avionics simulator for the C-130 Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) to Little Rock Air Force Base. The Weapon System Trainer (WST) passed government acceptance testing, company officials say.
Boeing is scheduled to deliver a suite of trainers over the next several years to support the AMP training program at Little Rock. Each piece of training equipment offers a different level of instruction to train crew members in the operation of the new capability AMP will install in the aircraft.
The simulator is a full-motion, high fidelity simulator for training Air Force aircrews to fly the AMP-modified aircraft in an operational environment. A key feature of this training device is that it uses the same avionics software as the C-130 AMP aircraft, which will make it easier for the Air Force to keep the simulator current with the aircraft, Boeing officials say. Any future modifications can be made to the aircraft and the training devices at the same time, so aircrews can train on any new capability in the simulator before they fly it in the aircraft.
"As a guard unit, our entire mission depends on exceptional training," says Lt. Col. Domenic Sarnataro, 189th Airlift Wing Chief of Safety, Arkansas Air National Guard. "Ours is the only unit that will provide training for the C-130 AMP, so the sooner we can start using these simulators, the better prepared we will be when training begins late next year."
Three C-130 AMP aircraft have completed initial flight testing and are undergoing additional evaluation flights with the Air Force before the AMP upgrade kits are installed on the fleet.
Boeing partnered with CAE USA in Tampa, Fla., to integrate the new AMP cockpit into the simulator and to perform similar modifications for other training devices in the suite.
Just as the training program is refurbishing old training devices, the AMP program will save the Air Force millions of dollars by modifying existing C-130s when compared with the cost of acquiring new aircraft, Boeing officials say.