T-45 Training System (T45TS)
The T-45 Training System (T45TS) is the first totally integrated training system developed for and used by the U.S. Department of the Navy. It includes the Boeing-built T-45 Goshawk aircraft, advanced flight simulators, computer-assisted instructional programs, a computerized training integration system, and a contractor logistics support package. The integration of all five system elements produces a superior pilot in less time and at lower cost than previous training systems.
The aircraft is designed to excel in the rigorous environment of naval aviation training. It has been tested successfully to 28,800 hours twice the design life of 14,400 flight hours.
T-45s have made more than 12,000 arrested landings aboard aircraft carriers since entering service at Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas in 1992. More than 760 new aviators have earned their wings in the T-45.
The T-45A (with an analog cockpit) made its first flight in April 1988 and is fully operational at NAS Kingsville. The latest significant upgrade, the T-45C (with a digital cockpit) made its first flight in October 1997. The delivery of the first T-45C to NAS Meridian was celebrated in a ceremony Dec. 15, 1997. Ultimately, the T-45C will replace the remaining T-2C Buckeyes and TA-4J Skyhawks at NAS Meridian, Miss.
The Goshawk is capable of being modified and upgraded to meet customers’ needs and the changing demands of flight training. The most significant modification to date is the new digital cockpit, known as Cockpit-21. Goshawks equipped with Cockpit-21 are designated T-45C, as opposed to the earlier T-45A aircraft with their analog cockpit.
The digital cockpit which is more representative of current tactical fighter configurations will enhance the Navy’s ability to train pilots destined for the F/A-18 Hornet, the AV-8B Harrier and other sophisticated carrier-based aircraft. With training in Cockpit-21, pilots making the transition to the fleet’s carrier-based jets can concentrate on their primary mission of learning how to perform key tactical maneuvers.
Cockpit-21 uses a 1553 bus and has two multi-function displays in each cockpit; these provide navigation, weapon delivery, aircraft performance and communications data. It also has a global positioning inertial navigation assembly and a head-up display in the forward cockpit that provides high-brightness navigation, weapon aiming and status information.
Plans call for NAS Meridian to have a full complement of 90 T-45Cs by 2003. The first class of student naval aviators arrived at NAS Meridian on July 8, 1998 and earned their wings in April 1999. Plans call for the T-45As at NAS Kingsville to be retrofitted to the T-45C configuration beginning in 2004.
The Totally Integrated System
For example, student pilots gain basic aviation knowledge and skills in electronic classrooms with state-of-the-art projection systems. They learn about more difficult, three-dimensional maneuvering concepts through computer-aided instruction that features sophisticated animation. They then refine their skills in improved high-fidelity simulators.
Both the instrument flight trainer and operational flight trainer simulators installed at NAS Meridian are upgraded to include a new digital cockpit, a new instructor operator station, a new host computer and an enhanced visual database system. These upgrades improve student training while reducing overall costs.
The instrument flight trainer simulator familiarizes student pilots with the T-45 cockpit and flight instrumentation. The operational flight trainer simulator has a visual system that presents the student with a computer-generated view of the world outside the cockpit. It is programmed for a wide variety of training maneuvers, including carrier approaches, formation flight, weapons delivery and a variety of weather scenarios.
The T45TS also includes a computerized management system that coordinates activities such as scheduling, student tracking, record-keeping and generating reports at the command level. This training integration system (TIS) networks all elements of the T45TS to make planning and decision making easier, more flexible and more efficient.
The T45TS Program
Production of the Goshawk is planned well into the next century. Production deliveries began in 1992 and have continued at a rate of roughly one aircraft a month. At NAS Kingsville, the aircraft have consistently exceeded expectations for availability. With current demand, the U.S. Navy has been averaging more than 60 hours per month per airframe.
Navy procurement plans for the T45TS call for 234 Goshawk aircraft, 17 flight simulators, 10 electronic classrooms, 44 computer-aided-instruction work stations, one TIS networked to three sites, and supported by more than 100 computer terminals.
The Boeing Company delivered the 100th T-45 to the U.S. Navy Jan. 20, 1999, and the T-45A fleet at NAS Kingsville logged its 200,000th flight hour on March 5, 1999.
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