Live Fly Versus Simulation

With the Air Force retooling its Weapons School curriculum and other training programs, service leaders are working to balance “live-fly” exercise opportunities with “virtual and constructive” simulated events. Both types of training pay unique dividends, said Maj. Gen. Jay Silveria, commander of the Air Force Warfare Center at Nellis AFB, Nev. “We’ll always need live fly, for training for flight operations, for live decision-making, and other skills,” he told Air Force Magazine in a mid-August interview. But virtual and constructive training allows the Air Force to introduce capability that is not possible to have in live-fly scenarios. For example, the threats that the Air Force replicates in live-fly events are not really representative of potential real-world threats, said Silveria. In the virtual environment, exercise overseers can readily mix and match threats ranging from air defenses to cyber attacks. “I can dial a threat up to the highest level … without restraint or concern,” he said. “Even in an unconstrained [budget] environment, I have to go to the sim for that,” he added. There’s another advantage: The Air Force wants airmen to be able train with capability that it is “not going to put on display,” said Silveria. “We don’t want … to show others what we can do,” he said.