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U.S. Military Investing in Simulators

Written by on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

With budgets tightening and expenses rising, the U.S. Military has invested its military readiness into simulators. At a fraction of the cost and the potential to provide more realism, simulators are being recognized as the ideal place to invest for the U.S. Military.

All services have been challenged to reduce costs while not sacrificing readiness and all services have responded in kind by recognizing the advantages of simulators over actual live training events. The U.S. Air Force estimates that it could save about $1.7 billion over five years by reducing flying hours by just 5 percent and the U.S. Navy believes it can lower annual aviation training costs by $119 million by investing in flight simulators. Flight simulators have evolved over the years and now combine the latest technology in high definition 360 degree domes, fully accurate cockpits, performance based models and seats that actually mimic flight conditions of aircraft motion. The improvements have come with a price but considering that a single flight hour in the F-15E Strike Eagle costs about $17,499, the return on investment is great.


The flight-to-simulator ratio for training pilots is considered critical to recognizing the benefits of investing in simulators and the Navy’s FA-18E/F Super Hornet currently performs 18 percent of their training in simulators but by 2020, that number is expected to grow to 32 percent. Likewise, the EA-18G buy valium without rx Growler conducts 20 percent of it’s training in the simulators and the number is expected to climb to 34 percent by 2020.

Transitioning training flights from the aircraft to the simulator makes sense financially but does it provide the same quality of training that would be performed in the aircraft? The answer is, “it depends.” If the simulators are of high quality and provide an immersive environment for aircrew that makes it difficult to discern between the two, then the answer is a resounding “yes”. But if the simulators don’t have the quality to replicate “real-world,” then there’s a risk of losing proficiency and readiness but the U.S. Military is addressing these concerns as they upgrade their simulators. In the FA-18E/F Super Hornet program, military representatives are given the task to assess the quality of the new upgrades to determine whether they are sufficient to re-direct training flights into the simulators. It is not expected that all training events will transition to the simulators over night but will adapt a more gradual approach as quality upgrades are evaluated.

With the U.S. Military under constant pressure to reduce costs, investing in simulators is relatively low given the large savings but with all synthetic training, a trade-off must be made that doesn’t sacrifice the realism and advantages gained by actual training events.


If you want advice about the world of military aviation, there’s no better people to turn to than men and women who have sat in the cockpit and flown some of the world’s most advanced aircraft. With over 50 current and ex-warfighters on call, Strike Fighter Consulting Inc. can give you access to up-to-date, first-hand technical and tactical expertise.

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