Posted: March 30, 2017 5:25 PM

Textron to Bid on Navy Training Rotary-Wing Simulator

By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor

ARLINGTON, Va.— Textron intends to offer a solution to a Navy requirement for a new simulator to train rotary-wing pilots for the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The new simulator will be designed to offer training to help meet the Navy’s goal of shifting some flight hours to simulator time.

Textron’s TRU Simulation + Training business unit plans to propose 14 new simulators to replace the current simulators for the TH-57B/C Sea Ranger training helicopters flown by Training Wing Five at Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Pensacola, Fla., said Eric F. Buer, the company’s capture leader for the competition and a former Marine Corps helicopter pilot.

Textron will propose a contractor-owned, contractor-operated comprehensive training system, including simulators, ground training, maintenance and sustainment support, instructional materials and a revision of the curriculum, Buer said. The new simulators will offer full-motion and high-definition visuals matching the performance and characteristics of the TH-57.

The Navy trains more than 500 rotary-wing pilots per year, more than half of the total of pilots trained each year by the service.

The Navy’s goal is make rotary-wing training more effective and efficient by shifting 9 percent of the training syllabus event — 7,000 hours per year — to the new simulators.

Meanwhile, Textron, the parent company of Bell Helicopter, builder of the TH-57, is keeping its eye on the Navy’s intentions for replacing the old TH-57B/Cs, which are more than 35 years old. The service has not yet determined the solution for replacement, but one option is a commercially owned leased fleet of training helicopters complete with total contractor training, maintenance and logistics support.

Buer said that the new simulators would be designed for a swap-out for an even newer simulator when the Navy decides on its training helicopter solution.

The Navy expects to release a Request for Proposals this spring with the contract award anticipated in September. The contract is expected to be a seven-year fixed-price contract.

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