|The U.S. Air Force is employing new virtual training tech to prepare pilots for the F-35. Photo: Lockheed Martin
[Avionics Today 12-01-2015] As the U.S. Air Force prepares for initial F-35 Lightning II operations, pilots are rehearsing missions with new simulators delivered by Lockheed Martin. Pilots are now training with four full mission simulators linked together to hone their tactical employment of the F-35 against ground and airborne threats.
As a complement to live flights, the full mission simulators present a secure, realistic environment for pilots to develop tactics and integrate the F-35 into the Air Force's arsenal. The first operational F-35A squadron will reach combat readiness in August 2016.
"The F-35 is going to be an incredible advancement in our capability as an air force, and the full mission simulators present an environment to adequately challenge our pilots as they prepare for combat," said 34th Fighter Squadron Commander Lt. Col. George Watkins.
To date, 143 pilots and 846 maintainers for the Air Force have qualified through the F-35 Training System. By August 2016, more than 190 F-35 pilots and 1,000 maintenance personnel for the Air Force will be mission ready.