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15 May 2024

US Navy advances development of Air Force’s new Joint Simulation Environment

US Navy advances development of Air Force’s new Joint Simulation Environment
DVIDS Image /U.S. Navy photo by Terri Thomas
Defense Visual Information Distribution Service - Story by Brittany Dickerson
Engineers from the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) successfully installed core software in the Air Force’s future Joint Simulation Environment (JSE) facility at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada bringing the service closer to operating its own next-generation training and test facility.

Nellis is the Air Force’s premier training and test center for advanced combat aviation.

“The Joint Simulation Environment is the only training range where tactical aviators can fight like they would in real air combat,” said NAWCAD Executive Director, Steve Cricchi. “NAWCAD’s JSE is capability advantage helping American warfighters keep pace with the changing character of warfare—its importance cannot be overstated.”

The JSE’s core software includes the digital elements that make up the facility including simulated variables like weather, the electromagnetic spectrum, surface and subsurface platforms, enemy aircraft and weapons systems. The software also includes weapons systems like the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, AIM-9 Sidewinder, Small Diameter Bomb, and more.

“NAWCAD’s JSE is critical to advancing air superiority and improving service interoperability,” said NAWCAD JSE Director Blaine Summers. “Standing up robust, multi-platform training and test capabilities at Nellis underscores our Navy’s commitment to partnering with the Air Force.”

The JSE is the DOD’s next-generation digital test and training range made up of cockpits, domed simulators with 4K projectors, and aircraft software. NAWCAD’s JSE enables tactical pilots to fly wartime scenarios in a near-exact virtual environment, and aircraft developers to push air systems to extreme limits beyond the safety constraints of open-air ranges.

NAWCAD is leading the DOD’s effort to scale the capability across the services. The warfare center installed enemy air systems at Nellis in 2023 and will enable F-35 and F-22 operations this year.

Navy and Air Force fighter pilots will begin training together in NAWCAD’s JSE this summer, and the JSE is now part of the DOD’s formal curriculum for its tactical weapons schools. This includes the Navy’s TOPGUN and Air Force’s 6th Weapons Squadron, who currently train in the JSE at the warfare center’s Patuxent River headquarters.

NAWCAD’s JSE also trains domestic and allied fighter squadrons stationed across the world as pilots fly more sorties in the JSE over a week than they can on open-air ranges in a year. The command surpassed more than 1,000 F-35 pilots trained in the JSE in March 2024.

NAWCAD will incorporate additional test and training cockpits including the F/A-18 Hornet, EA-18 Growler, and E-2 platforms in its Patuxent River facility, and deploy its second training system onboard a Navy carrier, USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), this year.

The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division employs more than 17,000 military, civilian and contract personnel. It operates test ranges, laboratories, and aircraft in support of test, evaluation, research, development and sustainment of everything flown by the Navy and Marine Corps. Based in Patuxent River, Maryland, the command also has major sites in St. Inigoes, Maryland, Lakehurst, New Jersey, and Orlando, Florida.
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