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Navy and Air Force Pilots to Combine Training in Joint Simulation

Navy and Air Force fighter pilots together in a state-of-the-art Joint Simulation Environment (JSE)

Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) in Patuxent River, Maryland, is set to pair Navy and Air Force fighter pilots together in a state-of-the-art Joint Simulation Environment (JSE).

The new training paradigm integrates four U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor cockpits with eight Navy F-35 Lightning cockpits in NAWCAD's premier simulation facility. This integration epitomizes the DOD's commitment to fostering a unified military force capable of seamless operation across all domains during conflict. NAWCAD Commander Rear Adm. John Dougherty IV emphasized the strategic importance of the JSE as a force multiplier, designed to enhance the military's deterrence capabilities and, if necessary, secure victory in combat situations.

The JSE's introduction of fifth-generation fighter simulators brings together personnel from the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and allied forces into a highly realistic digital battleground. This environment allows pilots to engage in near-exact virtual replications of wartime scenarios, offering a level of training fidelity that far exceeds what is possible in traditional open-air ranges.

One of the JSE's key advantages is its ability to circumvent the logistical and safety constraints of open-air training, providing aviators with an unparalleled opportunity to hone their tactics in a risk-free yet highly realistic setting. According to NAWCAD JSE Director Blaine Summers, this facility is where the future of air combat training is headed, allowing pilots to train as they would fight, without the limitations imposed by real-world safety concerns.

Developed collaboratively by Navy engineers and industry partners, the JSE is a dynamic training and testing platform,  featuring the latest in simulation technology, including hardware and software from actual DOD aircraft and defense systems. This facility not only supports high-stakes training scenarios but also facilitates immediate debriefing and learning, enabling pilots to quickly assimilate lessons learned and improve their combat readiness.

Initially designed to support the F-35 Lightning's operational testing, the JSE has evolved into a comprehensive training ecosystem that now includes additional platforms such as the F/A-18 Hornet, EA-18 Growler, and E-2 aircraft. Moreover, the DOD has incorporated JSE training into the Navy's elite Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor Program, better known as TOPGUN, underscoring the facility's pivotal role in shaping the future of U.S. military aviation.



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