The commander of Air Mobility Command, a Major Command of the U.S. Air Force, selected Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, and MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, as the relocation sites for the next two KC-135 Stratotanker pilot flight simulators.
KC-135 pilot flight simulators, also known as Operations Flight Trainers or OFTs, provide pilots a high-fidelity, full-motion environment, which enables realistic flying training and emergency procedure practice as well as networked distributed mission operations capability.
“We are preparing for future threat environments by creating the right mix of traditional tanker flying and highly realistic tanker simulation training across the mobility air forces,” said Gen. Carlton D. Everhart, AMC commander. “Optimizing simulator capacity and use at these locations provides the greatest operational benefits across the Total Force.”
As the command prepares to receive the KC-46A Pegasus, AMC plans to relocate a total of five KC-135 trainers in order to better serve the force. Relocation decisions for the first three of five simulators have been made with one each going to Pittsburgh and Rickenbacker Air National Guard bases and one to Altus Air Force Base to address formal student training requirements.
The Air Force operates 19 full-motion KC-135 OFTs distributed across 12 of the 30 active duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve KC-135 bases and Air Education and Training Command’s KC-135 Formal Training Unit. The relocation of these two simulators is expected to maximize simulator access across the mobility enterprise.
“The KC-135 will remain an essential part of the refueling fleet, critical to the joint warfighter and our allies, well into the future even as the KC-46 comes online,” Everhart said.
As the KC-135 fleet is set to retain 300 of its 396 aircraft over the next decade, all 19 OFTs will be needed in order to ensure robust support to aircrew training requirements. The move of these two remaining displaced simulators is designed to best provide highly-realistic KC-135 training where it’s needed across the Total Force while reducing flying hour cost.