Lockheed Martin has submitted the KC-46 Aircrew Training System (ATS) proposal to the US Air Force (USAF), to help train pilots, boom operators and other on-board personnel for air refuelling, cargo transport and medical evacuation missions.

Lockheed Martin Global Training and Logistics business training solutions vice president, Jim Weitzel, said the company’s KC-46 ATS solution provides each airman with a customised learning environment, simultaneously reducing the cost and time required for training.

"The design builds on our proven methodologies that prepare 35,000 airmen on 36 aircraft variants each year," said Weitzel.

Designed to support the USAF’s strategy for global mobility, the KC-46 ATS solution comprises academic materials, classroom instruction, several types of aircrew training devices with interactive courseware, trainer instruction and a training system support centre.

According to the company, the system will offer familiarisation, initial qualification, continuation, upgrade, remedial, as well as requalification training for the aircrews.

The first aircrews are expected to commence training in 2016, and will be able to refuel fixed-wing receiver-capable aircraft for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and coalition forces.

Lockheed Martin and Thales Group have provided Level D-certified simulators for the solution, while ACME Worldwide has delivered boom operator trainers for remote air-refuelling.

The company has supported the USAF Distributed Mission Operations Center, and also provides flight training to the British Armed Forces through the Military Flying Training System programme, and to the Republic of Singapore Air Force through the Basic Wings Course programme.

Currently built by Boeing, the KC-46 is a military aerial refuelling and strategic transport aircraft designed to gradually replace the USAF’s ageing fleet of 176 KC-135E Stratotanker aircraft, which has been the primary refueller for more than 50 years.

As part of the KC-135 replacement programme, the air force will take delivery of 18 KC-46 aircraft by 2017, which will continue until 2028, with the aircraft’s first flight scheduled for late 2014.