11 January 2016
An interesting article in National Defense Magazine about the acceleration of the F-35 pilot training program. EDM was selected by Lockheed Martin to design and manufacture the ground-based based training devices comprising of the Ejection Systems Maintenance Trainer (ESMT) and the Weapons Loading Trainer (WLT) for this fifth generation stealth fighter.
Here is the beginning of the article with a link at the end to the full piece:
The F-35 joint strike fighter program is transitioning to a day when its pilots will come fresh out of flight school and the new jet fighter will be their first assignment.
The services’ cadre of pilots so far have been veterans of other programs such as the F-15, F-16, Harrier or A-10s, said Mike Luntz, director of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 training systems.
“Many of the pilots that we have trained to date have been the more experienced pilots,” he said in an interview. “They typically have over 1,500 hours, maybe up to 3,000 hours of actual flight time in other fighter aircraft.”
Lockheed Martin, in addition to being the builder of the aircraft, also has the contract to provide training for both pilots and maintainers, including classroom instruction, flight simulators for pilots and mock-up aircraft for technicians.
These new so-called “category-one” pilots will have only about 200 hours of flight time in T-38 trainers at flight school and will be asked to take control of the U.S. military’s newest 5th-generation aircraft, which currently cost a little more than $100 million each.
“They just got their wings and they’re ready to move from that trainer aircraft into that fighter aircraft,” Luntz said. Lockheed Martin is gearing up to support the first batch of these less experienced pilots at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina.