Yokota Air Base (AB) in Japan has received a C-130J Super Hercules Weapons System Training (WST) simulator following two years of construction.

Yokota AB, which is a US Air Force (USAF) and Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) base in Fussa city, conducted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the simulator on 27 July.

As Yokota serves as the sole tactical airlift squadron in the Pacific Air Forces, it commenced transition from the C-130H Hercules to C-130J Super Hercules in 2017.

C-130J WST simulator was installed as a part of this transition from the H model to the J model.

The cockpit flight simulator is certified to train aircrews, who would receive training just as they would in an aircraft.

USAF 36th Airlift Squadron operation assistant director Major Christopher Wolff said: “The simulator is primarily used to accomplish our required annual refresher training focused on aircraft emergency procedures and crew and cockpit resource management (CRM), which would be too dangerous or unpractical to do in the actual aircraft.”

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The newly operational simulator will provide aircrews with real-world scenarios in a safe surrounding. It has the ability to recreate any flying environment.

Claimed to be a budget-friendly simulator, approximately 150-200 pilots, loadmasters, and maintainers can be trained annually on tactical airlift missions.

Wolff added: “The simulator will save the 374th Operations Group approximately $450,000 annually in personnel and travel costs by conducting the required training on site.

“Essentially, the C-130J WST simulator and the C-130J Super Hercules are one and the same, but with better cost savings and a safer way of doing things.

“Some other benefits of the simulator are that it can replicate nearly any operating environment of the C-130J with unlimited variations of locations, weather, or time of day to facilitate whatever training is needed.”

In December 2019, Yokota Air Base broke ground on an Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) airfield apron.