US Air National Guard begins construction of C-130J sim site
The US Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing has commemorated the initial phases of construction efforts for a future C-130J simulator site.
The new Weapons System Trainer Reconfigurable (WST 12R) C-130J flight simulator is the first of its kind for the ANG on the West Coast.
It will feature various capabilities unseen in other flight simulators across the US, the service said.
According to Col Lisa Nemeth, commander 146th Airlift Wing, the training opportunities gained by the addition of this simulator will be shared with the wider C-130J community, benefiting more units and providing more customisable training than any other C-130J simulator in existence.
Pointing out the WST 12R’s strategic placement at the Channel Islands Air National Guard Station in California, Nemeth noted in a 6 January statement: ‘Having this simulator here at Channel Islands will provide more efficient and realistic training for our aircrew, and as the C-130J Western Region simulator, it will also benefit other units from across the nation who will travel to [the] Channel Islands for training.’
She added: ‘WST 12R will enhance and modernise how our aircrew accomplishes its training because it’s the first configurable simulator between the "HC" and "Slick J" C-130J aircraft variations that can also be rapidly configured to facilitate training for C-130J block enhancements for 6.0 and 8.1.’
Block enhancements refer to both software and hardware capability expansions that are installed to enhance the capabilities of the aircraft.
Col Christopher Dougherty, vice commander of the 146th Airlift Wing, said there are also cost-saving benefits with the addition of the simulator plus another WST 12R capability that improves training for the wing's aerial firefighting mission.
‘Based on historical data, we predict that WST 12R will significantly reduce the travel, fuel, and training travelling costs by an estimated $6.3 million annually,’ he said.
‘Lastly, this simulator will virtually connect to other simulators and training locations to conduct formation airdrop training over a secure network,' he added.
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