USAF’s command and MAJCOMs to build virtual training hangars

26 February 2020 (Last Updated February 26th, 2020 11:46)

US Air Force's (USAF) Air Education and Training Command (AETC) has announced a partnership with multiple major commands (MAJCOMs) to create virtual aircraft maintenance hangars.

USAF’s command and MAJCOMs to build virtual training hangars
A completed 3D scan of a F-16C Fighting Falcon is displayed on a screen, while maintainers work on an actual F-16 at Nellis Air Force Base. Credit: USAF / Airman 1st Class Christopher H. Stolze.

US Air Force’s (USAF) Air Education and Training Command (AETC) has announced a partnership with multiple major commands (MAJCOMs) to create virtual aircraft maintenance hangars.

The competency-based virtual and augmented-reality hangars are being built for the aircraft maintenance and career enlisted aviator communities as part of AETC’s Integrated Technology Platform (ATP) initiative.

AETC is building the virtual training hangars for the classroom and flightline with 3D Aircraft Mission Design Series environments for every airframe in its inventory.

They will feature augmented-reality capabilities and comprehensive instructor tools.

AETC force development strategy chief and technical adviser Masoud Rasti said: “This effort is tied to our priority to transform the way airmen learn through the aggressive and cost-effective modernisation of education and training.

“We have to be visionary and agile when it comes to training today and the intent is to apply current and emerging technology to support the warfighter, no matter where they might be, so they can operate within joint, all-domain environments.”

The ITP is aimed at executing a competency-based learning strategy and environment that makes use of virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning technologies, for officer and enlisted career fields.

Rasti noted that the ITP will identify and use new technologies such as blended and modularised training, hands-on training such as the Microsoft HoloLens 2 application to teach to these occupational competencies while implementing new methodologies for learner-centric training.

The virtual hangar and flightline are aircraft agnostic and can be used by all airforce aircraft.

AETC force development programme analyst Richard Robledo said: “Another major reason for the ITP concept is we want to eliminate duplicative efforts on the virtual-reality front.

“We want to bring the rest of the airforce in on this, under one contract, to streamline the programme with a simplified process so the other MAJCOMs can come in with dollars and tap into the expertise and experience of the process that has been built up over time.”

Last month, the US Air Mobility Command (AMC) and AETC, along with the USAF joined forces to develop a VR platform for training purposes.