SAN DIEGO, Calif. – December 5, 2006 – The U.S. military’s next generation air combat training system is now operational and training aircrews at Naval Air Station Key West, Florida, and Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. Developed by Cubic Defense Applications, the defense segment of Cubic Corporation (Amex: CUB), and principal subcontractor DRS Technologies, Inc., the easily transportable “rangeless” system allows instrumented joint and coalition air combat training without the use of fixed infrastructure.
Key West and Luke are the first U.S. military installations to formally accept Cubic’s P5 Combat Training System/Tactical Combat Training System (P5CTS/TCTS). The Florida and Arizona bases represent the vanguard of approximately 30 U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Air National Guard installations in the U.S., Asia and Europe that will receive P5 over the next seven years.
“One of the advantages is that all the services, the Air Force, Navy, Marines, will eventually all go to P5. When everybody goes to P5, training will be transparent. You’ll be able to go from range to range and integrate forces,” Gary Steele, in charge of air combat training system quality assurance for the 56th Range Management Office at Luke AFB, told The Thunderbolt, Luke AFB’s base newspaper. The Air Force formally accepted P5 at Luke on Oct. 19.
Cubic and DRS are supplying P5 under a 2003 contract with a ceiling value of $525 million. To date, Cubic has received more than $125 million in orders for the systems, including approximately $30 million in bookings in the past five months.
The Air Armament Center (AAC), based at Eglin AFB, Florida, and the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) at Patuxent River, Maryland, have united into a cooperative program in which AAC is responsible for the contracting activity for all services. AAC, together with Air Combat Command (ACC), Langley AFB, Virginia, and PMA-205, are responsible for overseeing P5’s development and fielding to U.S. Air Force sites around the world.
The P5 system at Luke AFB was accepted on Oct. 19 after extensive testing by three Air Force squadrons. The system delivered to Luke includes 80 P5 instrumentation pods, 21 laptop debriefing systems, a transportable ground system that operates with or without a live monitor for postmission debriefs, and 10 remote range units to handle air-ground communications.
“Receiving the P5 is the culmination of many agencies working together to make it a reality,” said Lt. Col. Tim “Tabasco” McIlhenny, chief of range instrumentation requirements for ACC at Langley AFB, commenting on P5’s acceptance at Luke AFB. “I’m just really impressed with the capabilities that we’re leaving here; it’s only going to grow. There has been absolutely outstanding support all around.”
Key West’s TCTS system entered service in February 2006. Since then, Navy aircrews have flown more than 4,000 sorties using the new system.
Among those using the system was Navy Cmdr. John O’Brien of VFC-12 squadron.
"The new TCTS tracking system is awesome. This greatly improves training and more important safety!" he said.
"This new system is phenomenal,” said Cmdr. Jeff Baumgarten, executive officer of the VFA-204. “In the past non-trackers were common. I haven't seen any on this detachment. It’s an excellent investment in fleet training.”
U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Roland Branham, air intercept controller for VFMA-312, said aircraft on the TCTS display were always oriented in the right direction.
“The tracking range is exceptional compared to the older radio towers. The update rate and accuracy are great,” he said.
Cubic Defense Applications (CDA), the defense segment of Cubic Corporation, is a world leader in realistic combat training systems, mission support services and defense electronics. The corporation's other major segment, Cubic Transportation Systems, designs and manufactures automatic fare collection systems for public mass transit authorities. For more information about Cubic, see the company's website at www.cubic.com.