Rolls-Royce has launched its new Virtual Reality Maintenance Training Software for its AE 2100 turboprop engines powering U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules aircraft.
The first training system is scheduled to enter service with the USAF’s 58th Maintenance Group (MXG) at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, US.
The 58th Maintenance Group (MXG) is part of the 58th Special Operations Wing (SOW) at Kirtland which flies HC-130J Combat King II personnel recovery/combat search and rescue (CSAR) aircraft and MC-130J Commando II multi-mission combat transport/special operations tanker, and operates within the Air Force Air Education and Training Command (AETC).
The new Virtual Reality (VR) system will allow engine maintainers to learn and practice their skills in an immersive visual environment, increasing efficiency and reducing cost. The software enables students and instructors to practice on a virtual AE 2100 engine, replicated in form and function. This creates an environment for students to ‘learn by doing,’ increasing their recall by completing multiple repetitions. Kinesthetic active learning has been shown to dramatically enhance knowledge retention.
U.S. Air Force Col. JB Baquet, the 58th MXG Commander, said the innovation would enhance the evolution of training.
“We must transform the way we learn,” Baquet explained. “The VR maintenance system will enhance training efficiency, shorten the learning curve, accelerate skill levels, and improve fleet readiness.”
Paul Craig, Rolls-Royce, President – Defense Services, said, “Rolls-Royce offers many cutting-edge digital services to our military customers, and the new Virtual Reality Maintenance Training Software for C-130J engines is the latest example. The new VR software will reduce training and travel costs for maintenance crews, while enhancing their learning skills and retention. We are excited to launch this new VR training system with the U.S. Air Force’s 58th Maintenance Group at Kirtland Air Force Base.”
As a global leader in the aerospace industry, Rolls-Royce constantly innovates to help customers improve operations and maintenance capabilities, while reducing costs, risks and deployment disruption.
The training improves student engagement and enhances troubleshooting skills, while featuring networked learning to enable multiple individuals to train simultaneously from around the world.
Air Force Master Sgt Joe Muscarella, 58th MXG Lead Production Superintendent, said, “The system allows maintainers to virtually remove, examine and replace AE 2100 engine components without risk of damage to the equipment, an engine, or personnel injuries. Maintainers can safely train and practice anytime, anywhere, and gain hands-on experience without any mission disruption. We can also gain a better understanding of engine operations, performance parameters and component removal, as well as well as installation practices and procedures.”
The VR system was developed by Rolls-Royce in Indianapolis, the company’s primary defense business location in the U.S., with fully integrated capabilities in digital design, development, engineering, manufacturing and services in one location. Rolls-Royce North America Inc., headquartered near Washington, D.C., has nearly 6,000 employees based at 27 locations literally coast to coast across the U.S. The company designs, manufactures and services engines and propulsion systems for aircraft, ships and power generation. The U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marines, Army and Coast Guard all operate aircraft or ships with Rolls-Royce engines or propulsion systems.