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P-3 simulator connects virtually with SH-60 trainer

For the first time, a P-3 Orion simulator connected virtually to an SH-60B Seahawk trainer during a “peer to peer connectivity” trial July 1 at Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH), Kaneohe Bay.

Using its own simulation mode, the P-3’s Tactical Operational Readiness Trainer, also known as TORT, successfully linked with an SH-60B Tactical Operational Flight Trainer, or TOFT, in a synthetic environment. Referred to as “peer-to-peer connectivity,” this virtual linkage eliminates the need for a third party to facilitate the connection or act as a conduit.

“This landmark event comes at a time when technological innovations are advancing aviation training and readiness,” said Capt. John Feeney, Naval Aviation Training Systems (PMA-205), program manager. “Now that they have established an initial connection, these platforms can build the relationship into daily training requirements.”

During test and evaluation, P-3 aircrews communicated via the TORT with SH-60B aviators operating their TOFT. Through the TORT, the P-3 crew observed the SH-60B pilots maneuver the helicopter, as well as deploy buoys and launch multiple missiles in the synthetic environment. The P-3 operators were also able to check acoustic and radar signals during the training session, Feeney added.

“Both the P-3 and the SH-60B aircraft are designed for maritime patrol and reconnaissance missions, specifically anti-submarine warfare (ASW),” said Lt. Richard Holt, Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 2, Weapon Tactics Unit, training facilities officer in charge. “Since the two platforms continuously work together when deployed, it was only logical to integrate them now for coordinated ASW synthetic training.”

Several PMA-205 program office members were on hand to assist in the preparation leading up to the event. PMA-205 is responsible for the development and life-cycle management of both simulators, as well as the creation of the synthetic environment in which the trainers participated.

Since both platforms have squadrons at MCBH, Kaneohe Bay, aviators can walk across the hangar to discuss, plan and execute virtual missions at their home base with their actual on-station counterparts stated Holt.

“Continuous interoperable training events allow crews to exercise the capabilities and understand the limitations of the fellow platform, resulting in a more synchronized ASW force,” said Lt. Holt.

Within the next six months, the TORT and TOFT will participate in a simulated training event with a single Navy ship. Once both systems have successfully completed training with one ship, they will participate in a full-scale Fleet Synthetic Training (FST) event involving multiple ships, submarines and aircraft FST events provide real world mission rehearsal in a synthetic environment.

NAVAIR press release