The efforts to upgrade UMFO
training are the latest iterations of
the program to bring naval aviation
training into the digital age, which
began in the late 1990s with the
“glass cockpit” T-45C improvement
over the dial and gauge instrument
panels of the T-45A and T-2C.
As of late June, Boeing had built
83 T-45As and 127 T-45Cs, with 11
more T-45Cs to be built by the end of
2009. Five T-45As have been upgraded to the T-45C configurations, and
the Navy has scheduled an additional 67 T-45As for the T-45C upgrade.
Doss said the Navy is studying
requirements for a follow-on undergraduate jet trainer to succeed the
T-45C. The designation T-45D was
used by a Navy official in a presentation at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exposition in March, but the
Navy and Boeing insist the T-45D is
“All of our industry partners are working with the
Navy right now to define the requirements for the
future trainer,” Wilson said. “Anything beyond that is
probably predecisional right now.
In a manner similar to the T- 45, the Navy also is
procuring an upgraded version of the T-6A Texan II —
used in UMFO navigation training, as well as pilot training by the Air Force — to the T-6B for pilot training.
“The T-6A and T-6B will have 90 percent commonality, with the primary difference being the incorporation of an advanced avionics suite in the T-6B,” Doss
said. “The T-6B offers a glass cockpit configuration
with three multifunction displays, an upfront control
panel and a heads-up display.
“These avionics upgrades will provide students an
introduction to follow-on advanced training aircraft
and fleet aircraft digital cockpits while supporting
resolution of several T-6A obsolescence issues,” he
said. “The advanced avionics of the T-6B will enhance
crew situational awareness and crew resource management. The use of digital avionics and multifunction displays also will reduce inventory part counts
and increase availability by addressing technological
The Navy’s first T-6Bs are slated for delivery to
Training Air Wing Five at Naval Air Station Whiting
Field, Fla., in summer 2009.
The Navy also is upgrading its 54 T-44A Pegasus
multi-engine training aircraft to the T-44C configuration with the Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 digital inte-
The Virtual Mission Training System will be used to train “backseaters,” or
weapon system operators, who will go on to fly in F/A-18D Hornet, F/A-18F
Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler and F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft. An F/A-18F
assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 2 is shown here in April flying above the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Indian Ocean.
grated avionics package. The Pro Line 21 includes two
10-inch by 8-inch high-resolution, liquid crystal primary flight displays and one multifunction display,
which includes a moving map.
Training Air Wing Four at Naval Air Station Corpus
Christi, Texas, has accepted delivery of 12 T-44Cs and
expects to receive the remaining 42 conversions by the
end of 2012.
Undergraduate helicopter pilot training for the
Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, currently conducted using TH-57B/C Sea Ranger helicopters, will
enter the digital age when they are upgraded to the
The Navy expects the sum of these digital modernizations will produce more capable and technologically prepared naval aviators and flight officers, ready for the
“challenges and complexities of managing advanced
flight and weapon systems in fleet platforms,” Doss said,
while accomplishing that goal at a reduced cost.
“Cost-effective ground and air simulation technologies … [will provide] training environments that can
exceed the traditional limitations of real systems, and
which in turn provide flexibility in tailoring or modifying the training environment or content in the future
without major platform upgrades,” he said.
Doss also said that digital cockpits “will provide
increased capability, and enhance situational awareness and crew resource management, increasing safety
and developing required habit patterns to optimally
manage advanced flight and weapon systems in fleet