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USAF could contract out F-22 training in bid to reduce costs

The US Air Force is considering handing over training for the Lockheed Martin/ Boeing F-22 to industry in a bid to reduce costs. A decision on whether to "contractorise totally" F-22 training will be taken during 1998, says Leo Rickmers, Boeing's manager for F-22 training devices.

Boeing, which is prime contractor for the F-22 training system, awarded Hughes Training (HTI) contracts in January to develop the training devices. The initial contracts cover delivery of one each of the three pilot-training and nine maintenance-training machines. HTI's programme manager, Bob Wuestner, says that the two companies are working as a team.

A cut in F-22 procurement, to 399 aircraft, has trimmed the number of training devices required, while the budget for development has been cut from $400 million to $285 million, says Rickmers. Initial pilot-training devices will be delivered in January 2002, while the first three maintenance-training devices will be delivered in November 2000 and will be used to support transition training.

The F-22 training base will receive four full-mission trainers (FMTs), 22 simpler weapons-tactics trainers (WTTs) and two egress-procedures trainers (EPTs), plus a full suite of maintenance trainers. Each F-22 base will get four FMTs and one EPT, plus three of the key maintenance trainers, while each squadron will have one WTT.

HTI based its bids around Silicon Graphics Onyx2 host computers and image generators, but will decide later in the programme on its choice of equipment to use in production devices, so as to benefit from the latest technology, according to Wuestner.

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