RAAF pilots undergo F-35 multi-ship simulated training

19 December 2019 (Last Updated December 19th, 2019 11:33)

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has put in place a system to allow F-35 pilots to engage in multi-ship training missions using simulation technology.

RAAF pilots undergo F-35 multi-ship simulated training
One of the latest F-35A Lightning II aircraft at RAAF Base Williamtown. Credit: Corporal Craig Barrett.

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has put in place a system to allow F-35 pilots to engage in multi-ship training missions using simulation technology.

A total of four full mission simulators have been established at the integrated training centre at the RAAF base in Williamtown to support realistic training needs of the pilots.

Australian F-35A pilots are undergoing multi-ship training at the integrated centre, with the programme expected to train five pilots and 100 maintainer students by next month.

The training presents complex scenarios and prepares pilots for future operations.

RAAF seeks to establish a sovereign training capability before the F-35A achieves initial operating capability status in December next year.

F-35 Integrated Training Centre officer in charge Squadron Leader Amanda Norris said: “The simulation of four F-35As being flown together trains pilots to lead and fight as a four-ship formation.

“This four-ship capability is a key component of our training system. It enables four-ship qualified pilots to instruct and qualify others. This instruction and the mission complexity that can be generated is incredibly realistic. Pilots are able to experience scenarios that can be difficult to simulate outside of an actual warlike environment.

“Using a combination of their sensors and formation tactics, the multi-ship is able to train four pilots simultaneously in these roles, allowing for the very real human performance in the simulated environment.”

The full mission simulators also allow maintainers to improve engine ground operator training skills.

Next year, the RAAF intends to focus on improving training and making it more relevant, Norris added.

In April last year, the RAAF Base Williamtown received equipment for the F-35 training centre. It included a weapons load trainer and an ejection systems maintenance trainer.

Earlier this month, the airforce received seven additional F-35A fighter jets from the US. The Australian Government authorised the purchase of the last 24 aircraft in the programme to buy 72 F-35s.