HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah, Dec. 1 (UPI) — U.S. Air Force pilots, including those at Hill Air Force Base, are training for F-35 Lightning II operations using new simulators developed by Lockheed Martin.
With the F-35 multirole fighter jet being exclusively a single-seat aircraft, pilots complete academic and virtual education before training with the actual aircraft. After the academic portion of their education, pilots are now using Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II Training Systems, which provide virtual flight training programs.
New technology links four Full Mission Simulators together in an effort to further prepare pilots to use the F-35’s tactical capabilities against both ground and airborne threats.
“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 Lt. Col. George Watkins, 34th Fighter Squadron Commander in a statement.
Full Mission Simulators present realistic environments, allowing pilots to develop their skills before stepping foot into the aircraft. As of Tuesday, 143 pilots and 846 maintainers for the Air Force qualified through the system. Lockheed Martin estimates over 190 pilots and 1,000 maintenance personnel will be mission ready for F-35 operations by August 2016.
The Lockheed Martin-built F-35 is the U.S. Air Force’s fifth-generation fighter, designed to replace the aging fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcons and A-10 Thunderbolts. The craft is designed with the goal to provide pilots with enhanced stealth and situational awareness using an advanced sensor package.