Air-to-Air Combat Training … On the Ground

RSAF-f15Royal Saudi Air Force pilots flying the F-15SA will train with simulated sorties to prepare for all contingencies. (U.S. Air Force Photo)

When Royal Saudi Air Force pilots go through initial qualification training on the F-15SA, they will practice air-to-air combat, air-to-surface missions, air combat maneuvers and tactical intercepts.

But they won’t need an aircraft to hone their skills. Instead, the pilots will train virtually in a realistic ground-based training environment.

Recently, Lockheed Martin received a $253 million contract agreement to begin work on pilot and maintenance training systems for Saudi Arabia’s F-15SA modernization program.

Lockheed Martin will deliver 360-degree full mission trainers that, as a first for F-15 training, feature a single dome over the dual-seat cockpit to enable crew coordination training. Lockheed Martin will also deliver egress, avionics and desktop trainers for procedure training by pilots.

“The complement of F-15SA training systems starts with desktop trainers and progressively increases in capability to full mission weapons systems trainers,” said Jim Weitzel, vice president of training solutions for Lockheed Martin. “This creates a cost-effective program since the appropriate level of technology is applied to meet the training objectives.”

For maintainers, Lockheed Martin will provide virtual systems to enable training without the actual aircraft. The systems include basic maintenance, armament, landing gear and resting hook, flight controls and jet fuel starter trainers.

Lockheed Martin will begin upgrading F-15S full mission trainers to the F-15SA configuration this year with delivery planned in 2014. The delivery of three new F-15SA full mission trainers will be completed by 2020.

Lockheed Martin has served as the Royal Saudi Air Force’s F-15 training partner for more than three decades. The company also provides the service’s weapons systems officer training program.

In addition to delivering training systems to Saudi Arabia, Lockheed Martin's F-15 training technologies are currently in operation by the United States, Israel and Japan.

Posted March 11, 2013