JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- The first MH-60R Seahawk simulator on the East Coast was installed April 13 at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville.
The MH-60R Seahawk simulator was also approved to support Helicopter Sea Combat Wing U.S. Atlantic Fleet (HELSEACOMBATWINGLANT) in training pilots, aircrew and maintainers on the new Romeo platform.
NAS Jacksonville is the second Navy installation to establish an operational MH-60R squadron - the Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 70 Spartans. The Navy's first operational MH-60R squadron was HSM-71 at NAS North Island in 2007.
"We do fleet training to build combat readiness for pilots, aviation warfare systems operators (AWs) and a variety of maintainers," said HELSEACOMBATWINGLANT Simulator Technical Director Mike Muehlbauer. "The wing provides us with training schedules and we work with them to guarantee that all their training requirements are met."
The new HSM simulator, unlike some older platforms, has the ability to create situations that mimic combat scenarios anywhere in the world.
"We can emulate any piece of military equipment that has ever been built," said Muehlbauer. "This includes U.S. and foreign military platforms like ships, submarines, airplanes and weaponry.
"We also can place a pilot anywhere in the world and provide them with every possible situation he might face - be that enemy attacks, challenging weather or in-flight emergencies."
Pilots from HSM-70 use the new simulator before deployments to practice landing on ships, as well as to familiarize themselves with the locations of hospitals in major cities near where they will be operating.
"The HSM simulator presents realistic scenarios for every environment," said Muehlbauer. "There is so much detail in this program that a pilot could even land at their house if they so desired."
The new simulator is part of the Navy helicopter Concept of Operations (CONOPS) approved by the chief of naval operations in 2002. Under CONOPS, the SH-60B and SH-60F Seahawk variants are being replaced by the more-robust MH-60R. When the HSM transition is complete around 2015, there will be Romeo squadrons homeported at both NAS Jacksonville and Naval Station Mayport.
"With all the new squadrons arriving at NAS Jax [Jacksonville], the helicopter simulator crews have become very busy," said Muehlbauer. "We have had to turn into Gumby in a way by being extremely flexible in order to meet to the continuously changing needs of the wing."
The next MH-60R simulator is scheduled to arrive at Naval Station Mayport, as well as a second at NAS Jacksonville in just over 18 months.
For more news from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, visit www.navy.mil/local/nasjax/.