The Air Force is significantly upgrading its four B-1 Lancer simulators with new displays, improved projectors, and a modernized scenery database. The $18.4 million refresh of the 1990s-era weapon system trainers at Ellsworth AFB, S.D., and Dyess AFB, Tex., will bring training in line with the actual radar and sensor imagery of the modern B-1, including high-resolution ground-mapping-radar pictures. “We’ve gone from Mario Brothers to Halo,” said 28th Bomb Wing Commander Col. Jeffrey Taliaferro, expressing the improvements in terms that video gamers could understand. He visited Ellsworth’s upgraded simulators last week. “The impact of training realism for the aircrew will be immediate and significant,” emphasized Quinten Miklos, B-1 simulation project officer. Training instructors will also enjoy new targeting-pod imagery “in both electro-optical and infrared modes,” on their laptops, he noted. These upgrades are slated for completion in September. (Ellsworth report by A1C Alessandra Gamboa)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.