After three years of resounding support from commanders, senior instructor pilots, and master gunners, the Apache Gunnery Trainer (AGT) is heading to the flight line at Fort Rucker. Developed from previous AH-64 collective trainers sold internationally, refined to support the Air Cavalry Leader’s course and prototyped for the Synthetic Training Environment’s (STE’s) point of need requirement, the AGT will make front seat Apache aviators more lethal at the most critical task of the airframe, engaging the weapons systems. The AGT is a front seat AH-64 desktop trainer that fits in an airline friendly case that is no more than 50 lbs. Some of the features include switchology, top gun scoring gunnery, free play scenarios that are linkable to allow for attack weapons team engagements, and courseware of selected Aircrew Training Manual tasks. Tough-to-train tasks like link 16, APKWS, and MUM-T are on the product roadmap.
“The demand for this trainer was there. (At) every trade show or industry day demoing the device, the constant question was ‘how do we get these to our units?’”, said Army Aviation Hall of Famer and former Apache pilot, Bob Monette.
Finally, after all the efforts of the AVT and the Apache PM team, these trainers will be in the hands of the Hanchey Flightline and the Aircraft Qualification Course students. After successful validation, the plan is to make this trainer available across the Active and Reserve components along with its international partners.
“This was the hardest easiest thing I’ve ever done,” said VP of Business Development Kevin Vizzarri, a former Apache pilot. “We are a case study in the challenges of the acquisition process that makes it very difficult getting good ideas from small businesses to the hands of the warfighter.”
Coming this late spring, AGTs will be training attack pilots to be more lethal.