Technology and collaboration has created an optimal training environment for the CC-130J. Managing Editor Jeff Loube visited the RCAF’s Air Mobility Training Centre.
When the RCAF acquired the CC-130J Hercules tactical aircraft it was readily apparent that the training system would have to be upgraded accordingly. While the CC-130J is similar to the preceding models on the outside, there is little similarity otherwise. For example, the CC-130J has three aircrew – the CC-130H and preceding models five.
The first of the fleet of 17 aircraft arrived at 8 Wing, CFB Trenton, in June 2010, and the training centre soon followed. In 2012, 26 Transport Training Squadron’s (TTS) Air Mobility Training Centre (AMTC) was completed. The Sedley S Blanchard building houses staff and training systems for CC-130J, CC-130H Hercules and CC-150 Polaris aircraft but the jewels in the crown lie in the CC-130J aircrew and maintenance training systems. MS&T visited the AMTC in November 2017, during a media day hosted by 26 TTS and Operational Training Systems Provider (OTSP) CAE. As one would expect, the CC-130J training system is a training technology rich environment that delivers training within a long term, stable partnership between the RCAF and their industry partners.
Three features of the AMTC impressed MS&T; the support contract itself, the Fuselage Trainer for Loadmasters, and the capability to produce technicians who are ready to work – with no OJT.
CAE was selected as the single operational training systems provider in 2009. As OTSP, CAE is providing the CC-130J aircrew training capability which includes a full suite of CC-130J training systems and 20 years of in-service support. (In 2010, CAE was awarded a second similar contract under the OSTP programme for the CH -147F training capability in CFB Petawawa – see MS&T issue 1-2016 for a description of that facility). The in-service support includes maintenance of technology and courseware, and ground-based instructors. CAE AMTC manager, Mike Macneil stated that the CAE team consisted of 60 employees and some 28 or so sub-contractors.
At the time of the visit, the OTSP contract had just completed the fourth year. What is perhaps unique to the OTSP programme is the specific contractual requirement for “continuous improvement”. Joe Armstrong, Vice President CAE Canada, explained that this was a feature of “relational contracting” in which shared goals and collaboration are foundational in delivering the service.
426 TTS Commanding Officer LCol Brent Hoddinott, was enthusiastic about the continuous improvement process citing the first big success story; after much review, evaluation and course rescrubbing he noted the team was able to reduce the six-month mission course to four and ¾ months, saving five weeks of training. The first of the reframed courses had just commenced. Armstrong, equally enthusiastic, added there is a collective recognition that optimization of the simulation environment is a learning process, and new ways to optimize are continually emerging, and continually being sought.
As it is, the leverage of simulation has reduced the use of aircraft time significantly. LCol Hoddinott pointed out that the qualification course for the CC-130J required no aircraft hours for both first officers and loadmasters and compared that with the H model course requirements of 46 hours on the aircraft. Aircraft hours required for mission training is about the same for both models – 60 and 62 hours.
As one would expect in a visit of this sort, our hosts were eager to show off the technologies. And as also might be expected, the embedded WOW factors of the two-level D WST’s were pressed into service. Led by CAE’s Chief Pilot Instructor Trent Hunter, the two simulated aircraft, with media embarked, headed north towards the low flying training area. Maneuvering to 200 feet, he pointed out “We train people to fly comfortably at 200 feet”. And then, moving into formation in the #2 position, he allowed the effects of wake turbulence to become evident. The demonstration was capped with a tactical approach and arrival. The bonus was the guided tour of the Trenton area, and the sights of Prince Edward County, and Lake Ontario.
As impressive as the WST’s are, the Fuselage Trainer (FuT) is definitely jewel status. The FuT is a totally immersive experience and is a high fidelity operational model of the fuselage. Cascade Aerospace manufactured the fuselage, replicating the CC-130J interior including full electrical and hydraulics. CAE integrated the trainer providing fully simulated aircraft systems, the virtual cockpit to drive the simulation and operate the FuT hardware components, the sound and aerodynamic effects, the interface for the instructor operator station and the flight deck of the Tactical Flight Training Device (which allows for full mission training).
The immersion experience left little to the imagination. The lights dimmed and we embarked on the demonstration. The sound of the aircraft – engines, hydraulics, equipment – faithfully replicated every stage of the mission. The opened ramp revealed another feature – a black abyss. The training hangar was completely dark.
The list of training tasks that can be accomplished is extensive, but include checklists, in-flight emergencies, fire/fumes, main landing gear emergencies, combat offload, cargo operations, NVG operations, container delivery and airdrop, personnel rigging and airdrop, and heavy equipment rigging and airdrop.
In July 2017, CAE announced that CAE USA had been awarded a subcontract from Lockheed Martin to support the development of four KC-130J fuselage trainers (FuT) for the United States Marine Corps (USMC), leveraging the design of the AMTC FuT. In addition, CAE USA has been subcontracted by Lockheed Martin to support the development of an HC/MC-130J enhanced fuselage trainer (eFuT) for the United States Air Force Special Operations Command.
Under a subcontract to Lockheed Martin, CAE developed and delivered the CC-130J maintenance training suite to the AMTC and currently provides in-service support to Lockheed Martin.
The technician training focuses on two technician courses, one for aviation technicians of 100 training days, and one for avionics technicians of 67 training days.
And the biggest technical training challenge with the CC-130J? When MS&T asked that question, the instructor speaking to the media group replied simply “integration”.
The maintenance suite ranges from the virtual to the physical, providing trainees with the tools to not only learn about the aircraft, but to practice maintenance tasks. And it is here that my last jewel is found. Trainees are qualified to perform CC-130J first line (O-level) maintenance upon graduation! There is no live aircraft practice or need to access operational aircraft during training - there is no OJT!
So there you have it, the three jewels: the OTSP contract, the FuT, and the graduation of ready to work technicians.
Air Mobility Training Centre CC-130J Training Technologies
The AMTC is technology rich and perhaps the easiest way to demonstrate that is by merely listing the technologies:
- 2 x Weapon System Trainers (WST) – Level D qualified
- 1 x Tactical Flight Training Device (TFTD)
- Visual Databases based on Open Geospatial Consortium Common Database (OGC CDB) CAE Medallion-6000 image generators
- 1 x Fuselage Trainer (FuT) networkable to TFTD for full-crew training
- 1 x LMPTT (Loadmaster Part Task Trainer)
- 3 x CAE Simfinity Integrated Procedures Trainers (IPTs)
- Laptop and desktop-based CAE Simfinity virtual simulators (VSIM)
- Tactical Control Centre (TCC)
- 6 x Classrooms with a capacity of 6 students each for Computer Based and Instructor led training
- Training Information Management System.
Maintenance Training System
- 1 x Fuselage and Aircraft Systems Trainer
- 1 x Integrated Cockpit Systems Trainer
- 1 x Confined Space Trainer
- 1 x Virtual Maintenance Trainer
Originally published in Issue 1, 2018 in MS&T Magazine.