Offutt receives new RC-135 flight simulator

  • Published
  • By Dana Heard
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs

Pilots and navigators will now be able to train on the latest Baseline-Charlie avionics technology at Offutt Air Force Base following the recent delivery of a new RC-135 flight simulator.

L3 Harris along with other contractors built the simulator, Offutt Flight Trainer 5, at a facility in Arlington, Texas. It has been operational since 2020 but couldn’t be delivered to Offutt until a facility to house it was renovated. As a result, more than 200 Offutt aircrew members traveled there for flight deck initial qualification and continuation training. Now they will be able to complete the training locally.

“Having the [simulator] located at Offutt not only provides a more convenient schedule for the students, instructors, and evaluators, it also allows us to execute the training syllabus as it was originally intended,” said Lt. Col. Damon Wagoner, 55th Operations Group deputy commander and chief pilot for the RC-135 flight deck upgrade program.

Getting the simulator to Offutt was no easy task. Contractors in Arlington had to first disassemble and package the oversized equipment for delivery. It was then delivered to Offutt Aug. 1, 2022 where it was reassembled and tested. It became fully operational for 55th Wing aircrew members Oct. 1.

“It was a phenomenal team effort to get OFT 5 across the goal line,” said Robert Ireland, 29th Training Systems Squadron RC-135 project manager. “Everyone involved in getting the facility ready for installation, truckers hauling the oversize loads up from Texas, the contractor install teams from Florida and Texas, our on-site software and [simulator] maintenance experts, to the test team flying missions to verify systems functionality. Crews filing into the [simulator] for training as planned was our end-zone dance.”

The new OFT 5 simulator now joins OFT 2 and OFT 3, which were delivered to Offutt in 2004 and 2005. The simulator will be used for training by more than 20 aircrews per week as well as maintenance personnel. It is an exact replica of OFT 4 that is used at Royal Air Force Waddington in the United Kingdom.