By Leiah Kim, Staff Writer

Jason Austin, system engineer for the Air Force Agency for Modeling & Simulation (AFAMS) eXploration division, addressed “AFAMS Enhancing F-35 Training Capabilities” at a Central Florida Tech Grove “Juice Bar” event, May 15.

Austin explained that the AFAMS eXploration division explores innovative technology and collaboration with partner organizations to minimize risks when developing technologies for the Air Force. The division works to integrate technologies to support the warfighter and address difficulties within modeling and simulation-based solutions. AFAMS is partnering with Tech Grove to develop outreach and create joint partners in academia to foster collaboration and advancement within the modeling and simulation industry.

“We have expanded out and got some programs going on with the Capstone Group,” Austin said. “They’re working on some artificial intelligence projects with us as part of their graduation requirements, so they’re using the [simulator] sleds to utilize and build that functionality.”

AFAMS is now collaborating with iPerformX to help integrate their F-35 simulation with existing AFAMS technologies and software to create a common environment.

Austin introduced the vice president of simulations at iPerformX, Andrew Palla, to discuss the influence of the Pilot Training Next (PTN) and Pilot Training Transformation (PTT) programs on modern virtual training simulations.

The PTN program was established in 2018 to increase the productivity of undergraduate pilot training in the Air Force by exploring innovative technology. PTN marked the beginning of the PTT program to further develop undergraduate training programs. Through the PTT program, training is not only developed through virtual training programs, but the Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Command Center (AATC) has adopted a modernized approach to individual training.

“The Air Force has moved towards competency-based learning models, towards new approaches based on adult learning theory, adaptive learning, and self-paced learning,” Palla said. “[This creates] the ability to optimize utilization of instructor resources by reallocating from students who are able to move at a more rapid pace, to students who potentially need more support.”

Palla said that he supports the Air Force by overseeing the development of training programs and aligning them with virtual training technologies used within AATC pilot training. This explains the shift in recent years to competency-based learning models, supplementing live flights and traditional simulators.

IPerformX featured their mixed-reality F-35 flight simulator to demonstrate the use of competency-based learning simulations in virtual pilot training. Mixed-reality tools like the F-35 simulator are developing virtual pilot training technologies from the undergraduate level to advanced readiness requirements in initial jet training and postgraduate standards.

These virtual training technologies have the benefit of a cloud-based infrastructure, which manages training and performance history across multiple pilot training programs. Through a performance data management system, students can access their training syllabus and have their performance analysis captured and uploaded to the cloud for later review.

Additional benefits of a cloud-based system allow the F-35 simulator to train students at their own pace when practicing emergency procedures and simple operational scenarios at a level of 90 frames per second.

AFAMS is working with the F-35 simulation to explore its use with other virtual training simulations used by the Air Force. By bridging a gap between technologies through cloud-based infrastructure in early pilot training programs, trainers can use previous performance data to assess development in postgraduate requirements.

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