T-45 Goshawk - Upgrades
The T-45C is known as Cockpit-21 because its cockpit has been reconfigured with multifunctional displays. Its head-up displays have also been upgraded. The digitally modified T-45C is a step up in technology from the analog cockpit associated with the T-45A jet trainer, first flown in 1988. This change to Cockpit-21 is more like the configurations of present tactical fighter aircraft. In contrast to the dated analog system, Cockpit-21 has two multi-function displays providing navigation, weapon delivery, aircraft performance and communications data. Not only will the T-45C upgrade enhance the Navy's ability to train future F/A-18 Hornet, AV-8B Harrier and other aircraft carrier pilots, but it will also shorten training time.
Procurement of the T-45C (digital configuration) was scheduled for 15 aircraft per year with associated ground training systems and support until 2003, for a total of 187 aircraft and 17 simulators. Eighty-two T-45As and 16 T-45Cs had been accepted by the Navy through calendar year 1998. The T-45Cs, which began delivery in December 1997, are based at NAS Meridian, Mississippi, and training in the T-45C began in August 1998. All T-45As will be retrofitted to the digital configuration starting in FY 2004. In the long run, the Navy projects savings of more than $400 million by completing the acquisition and delivery of new T-45's by the year 2002 instead of 2005.
Logistics support is provided by Contractor Logistics Support Package (CLSP) with the Boeing Company, with Boeing providing the maintenance of all system elements, as well as all other logistic support. Principal subcontractors are British Aerospace for the airframe, Rolls-Royce for the engine and Hughes Training Inc. for the simulators.
On 02 July 2008 Elbit Systems Ltd. announced it had been selected by Boeing to be the supplier for the US Navy’s T-45 Goshawk Virtual Mission Training System (VMTS). The VMTS, a key element in the US Navy’s Undergraduate Military Flight Officer (UMFO) training modernization plan, will provide realistic training at a reduced cost in a fighter-like environment and will enable the retirement of the aging T-39 that is currently doing this job.
The VMTS system simulates via data link an unclassified, mechanically scanned tactical radar that provides air-to-air and air-to-ground modes as well as simulated weapons and simulated electronic warfare. These functions can be networked between the participant aircraft and the instructor ground station that controls the mission presentation. VMTS allows a T-45 aircraft to simulate the use of radar and weapons against virtual aircraft while in flight as well as cooperate with other real and virtual aircraft.
After eight years of teamwork between Boeing, the Navy, and contractors, in January 2014 the most updated naval flight officer (NFO) training system became fully operational in Pensacola, Florida. Navigation students at Naval Air Station Pensacola began the first T-45 Virtual Mission Training System syllabus in January 2014. The T-45 VMTS team worked to create a more cost-efficient and accurate radar training system for the future navigators for the F/A 18 aircraft.
The new training system provides “backseat” NFOs the opportunity to train inside the T-45 Goshawk, which more accurately represents the cockpits and radar systems in the F/A 18 Super Hornet and Growler fleets. New data link technology also allows instructors on the ground to monitor virtual radar screens that mirror exactly what the student sees during flight training. From the instructor ground station (IGS), the instructor can also simulate virtual air-to-air and ground-to-air scenarios to the student while in flight. The T-45 VMTS also records the NFO’s radar for the entire flight training session, allowing the student navigator to play back and critique his session. An additional improvement the T-45 training program offers is a Ground Based Training System. A T-45 “backseat” cockpit flight simulator offers more accurate radar training and flight experience. Boeing.com will profile this new flight navigator simulator later this month.
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