Lockheed Martin will be providing the U.S. Marine Corps with a Containerized Flight Training Device (CFTD) for the Sikorsky CH-53K heavy lift helicopter, the company announced on Wednesday. The device is part of a recent contract award, which also includes options for three additional CFTDs. According to Lockheed Martin, the deal follows the success of the first CH-53K training device, which was delivered to Jacksonville, North Carolina’s Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River in 2020.
“Marine pilots have smoothly transitioned from the training device to the actual CH-53K’s fly-by-wire cockpit and completed missions in the fleet environment—such as air-to-air refueling,” said Flash Kinloch, Lockheed Martin vice president of training and simulation solutions. “Training in this highly immersive virtual environment permits flight crews to train the full scope of tasks that can be performed on the aircraft in a safe, cost effective and realistic manner.”
The CFTDs include a full cockpit, an instructor operating station and a brief/debrief room. The new training devices are expected to incorporate upgrades that “improve system performance, increase cost savings, and more closely align to the CH-53K aircraft.” Lockheed Martin noted that the Marine Corps achieved initial operational capability (IOC) for the CH-53K last April.