Virtual Reality

Virtual reality was one of the things a few vendors brought to the 37th annual Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Symposium.

The future of the United States military was on full display as the 139th Airlift Wing hosted vendors like Honeywell, Lockheed Martin and Rolls Royce while they pitched ideas on cost savings and virtual reality training.

The Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Center (AATTC) is a school within the airlift wing. However, the school is actually two years younger than the symposium.

Colonel Byron Newell, AATTC Commandant has trained soldiers from around the country on the C-130 and around the world, as 18 allied countries have gone through AATTC. He said it all began in 1981.

“They invited C-130 operators from around the country to come here to St. Joe, to talk about their training deficiencies and how they felt they could better prepare themselves for the next conflict,” Newell said.

Rolls Royce will be building new engines for the C-130 at Rosecrans Memorial Airport in the coming years. The design modification will result in fuel savings. The current engines burn around $4,200 of gas per hour of flight time, while the new engines will burn approximately $3,200.

This year’s theme was “Full Spectrum Contested Warfare,” and Vice Commandant Col. DeAnna Franks defined the meaning.

“Full spectrum readiness means being prepared for what the most current fight is out there, in the deployed environment,” Franks said. “The Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Center in St. Joseph, Missouri, is a place where the entire mobility Air Force comes, in order to get trained in those advanced tactics.”

Virtual reality was featured by a few vendors. Pilot simulations, as well as load-master simulations, are possible ways to train soldiers for scenarios they may have to someday face.

“How are you going to take your young aircrewman who’s never seen a contested environment — they’ve only just flown an airplane in peaceful times — and now they’re getting shot at?” Newell said. “We have to give them that training, constantly, persistently, year after year, hoping for peace while we prepare for war, and that is really ultimately what this school is all about.”