The US Navy has deployed its first air traffic control tower simulator system (ATC-TSS) at Naval Air Station Key West, Florida, US, for training personnel and reducing production costs.
Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division ATC lead lieutenant commander Jeff Dugard said that the new ATC-TSS simulators would replace ageing units at various US Marine Corps sites.
The US Navy is planning to procure a total of 38 simulators to provide low-cost proficiency training for its naval air traffic controllers, while replacing its existing tower operating training system (TOTS) at 34 military facilities.
Naval Aviation Training Systems (PMA 205) ATC-TSS programme manager captain John Feeney said: "Implementing a commercial trainer solution and leveraging the work done by the Federal Aviation Administration, Air Force and academia demonstrates our desire to provide quality and affordable training solutions.
"The goal is to upgrade technology and increase daily training accessibility, while simultaneously reducing operating time and lifecycle cost," Feeney added.
Comprising built-in scenarios such as emergency situations and daily routines, the UFA-developed new simulator system will overcome the TOTSs issues such as decreased visual capabilities and speech recognition programme for the navy.
Capable of supporting individual or team training, the ATC-TSS provides both out-of-the-window and binocular views as well as 3D graphics with simulated weather information, airfield lighting and integrated radar displays.
"Our air traffic controllers are the military's bird's-eye view," Dugard added. "Proper training ensures they are detail-oriented, work well in stressful situations, adhere to strict standards and are decisive."
The ATC-TSS is expected to achieve full operational capability in 2017.
Naval air traffic controllers, also known as swivel heads, are responsible for directing the aircraft safely and effectively while operating from airfields or the flight decks of aircraft carriers.
Image: As air traffic control tower simulator system. Photo: courtesy of US Navy.