The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-17 Simulator successfully participated in first-ever virtual training events with the U.S. and various coalition partners, during the recent Virtual Pitch Black and Coalition Virtual Flag exercises.
The RAAF participation was made possible after a team from the Agile Combat Support Directorate’s Simulators Division completed multiple quick-turn acquisition actions, including an award of a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to Frontier Technology Inc. and subcontractor Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation. One of the SBIR contract deliverables was the installation of a Distributed Mission Operations (DMO) kit, utilized to enable the virtual environment.
The RAAF C-17 Training System is a full mock-up of a C-17 cockpit which includes full motion, a high resolution day/night visual system, and the ability to air drop as well as air refuel. It is crucial to the success of the entire C-17 fleet, training all Australian C-17 pilots.
During these virtual exercises, the RAAF pilots met a number of key objectives including integrated warfighting, international crew training, and large force employment.
Planning for the exercises was no small feat, with multiple stakeholders, and time zones. The division assisted in the planning of the exercises by coordinating with nine different U.S. and Australian Air Force organizations.
“Reaching this milestone is not only important to the RAAF but also the U.S. Air Force,” said Melissa Sayre, the division’s program manager for the RAAF C-17 Training System. “Regardless of COVID limitations, multiple organizations have pulled together to enhance coalition training and provide more opportunities to be involved in integrated planning and execution. Through the Air Force synthetic environment, virtual exercises will be able to represent multi-domain contested, degraded, and operationally limited environments. Through meeting this key milestone, pilots will greatly benefit from joint virtual training.”