Military Aviation

Marines receive CH-53K first Trainer Simulator

The Containerized Flight Training Device provides realistic cockpit or system displays (i.e. visual resolution, tactile, spatial, audio, and functionality) and can simulate weather and tactical environments.

The H-53 Heavy Lift Helicopters program office (PMA-261) took delivery of the first training device for the CH-53K King Stallion helicopter on Apr. 14, 2020.  The Containerized Flight Training Device (CFTD) is housed at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River, Jacksonville, NC.

According to NAVAIR news release, the CFTD, built by Lockheed Martin in partnership with Veraxx, provides realistic cockpit or system displays (i.e. visual resolution, tactile, spatial, audio, and functionality) and can simulate weather and tactical environments. It is also capable of connectivity with other simulators for Enhanced Attitude Control and other aircraft training scenarios.

“The CFTD is an amazingly capable training device,” said Colonel Jack Perrin, PMA-261 program manager. “It is a much less expensive practice than using operational equipment and provides near-aircraft fidelity into a state-of-the-art training simulator for the fleet.”

Tom Gordon, Vice President of Lockheed Martin training and simulation solutions said: “This state-of-the-art simulator prepares Marine Corps aviators to fly this digital, fly-by-wire aircraft in a cost-effective highly immersive virtual environment. Training in these devices will prepare Marines, both aircrew and pilots, for operational deployment.”

The CFTD is the first in a series of new training devices being developed for the CH-53K. All training devices will eventually be located at the Center for Naval Aviation Technology Training (CNATT) at MCAS New River, where all of the aircraft’s aircrew and maintenance maintainers will be trained. Delivery of two other CH-53K training devices – the Helicopter Emulation Maintenance Trainer and the Composite Maintenance Trainer are also expected this year.

The CH-53K is completing development tests, leading to Initial Operational Test and Evaluation in 2021. First fleet deployment of the aircraft will be in 2023/24. The simulation software continuously updates, so as the program team makes necessary modifications to the CH-53K into the future, the CFTD will also change.

The CH-53K King Stallion advances Sikorsky’s 50 years of manufacturing and operational success with its CH-53A, CH-53D/G, and CH-53E predecessors. Built to thrive on the modern battlefield, including shipboard operations, the CH-53K aircraft is designed to be intelligent, reliable, low maintenance and survivable in the most austere and remote forward operating bases.

The CH-53K helicopter has been designed and built to the exacting standards of the US Marine Corps (USMC) and will serve as its critical land and sea based logistics connector. The new heavy lifter will allow the USMC and international militaries to move troops and equipment from ship to shore, and to higher altitude terrain, more quickly and effectively than ever before.

Photo credit: U.S. Navy

Gabriele Barison

Gabriele Barison is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Co-Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. He has flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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