MAY 13, 2021 – The 37th Helicopter Squadron took possession of an aerial gunnery simulator at the helicopter hangar on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, April 27.
The simulator is expected to provide substantial cost savings to the squadron, as well as provide accurate simulated training for Airmen manning the M240D rifle on the UH-1N Huey and then the MH-139 Grey Wolf.
“Taking Airmen up to train firing this weapon, considering cost per flight hour and the cost of ammunition, can be very expensive,” said Staff Sgt. Phillip Hill, 37th HS flight chief and evaluator special mission aviator. “Every time we train using this simulator can save thousands of dollars for each flight.”
Though the simulator cannot be used for weapon qualification or requalification, the practice and muscle memory it promises to provide will help ensure live qualifications will be more familiar when Airmen fill the gunner’s sling.
“Every time an Airman uses this simulator, they will become more and more familiar with how the weapon works,” Hill said. “It will make it that much more likely that when they do have to qualify, they’ll know exactly what they’re doing and have no issues getting it done.”
Another challenge the simulator helps overcome is the availability of the system, in contrast with the difficulty in procuring range time to fire the weapon.
“Getting range time for live-fire training can be difficult, so having this simulator device will help ensure my Airmen are better trained and more proficient in the delivery of aerial fires with the weapon we employ,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Karins, 37th HS commander. “That, in turn, will ensure they are more prepared to fulfill their role within the nuclear security mission.”
With those challenges put aside, the 37th Helicopter Squadron Airmen are more equipped to handle their responsibilities to the intercontinental ballistic missile mission.
By Glenn S. Robertson, 90th Missile Wing