SAN DIEGO, California – July 27, 2010 – More than 35 years ago, Cubic Corporation (NYSE: CUB) installed the world’s first instrumented air combat training system at the Navy Fighter Weapons School, better known as TOPGUN. The system tracked and recorded the performance of pilots during simulated dogfights. It took all of the guesswork out of knowing who won the engagement by providing an electronic scoring system documenting the outcome of each simulated weapons firing.
History has come full circle with the fielding of the fifth generation of this system at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. Miramar was the original location of TOPGUN before the school moved in 1996 to Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada. The P5 Combat Training System/Tactical Combat Training System (P5CTS/TCTS) was installed shortly after Miramar and Fallon celebrated the 40th anniversary of TOPGUN last year. Cubic Defense Applications, Inc., the defense systems business of Cubic, and principal subcontractor DRS Technologies have developed the P5CTS/TCTS.
Installing TCTS, as the system is known to Navy and Marine Corps aviators, means that this generation of Miramar fighter pilots has the capability to train anywhere, anytime without the need for a fixed ground infrastructure. Portable airborne and ground subsystems make the system “rangeless,” and that is changing the scenery of training for the six F/A-18 Hornet squadrons at Miramar.
Instead of flying over mostly inland and desert airspace shared with MCAS Yuma and Naval Air Facility El Centro, they can soar over the deep blue sea of the Pacific, where advanced flight maneuvers can take place.
“ It has added a tremendous amount of flexibility,” said Major Paul Mackenzie, director of safety and standardization for VMFA(AW)-121, the USMC’s venerable Green Knights squadron.
Miramar’s TCTS notched its first joint use during a large training exercise off the coast of San Diego in January.
“ We were working in correlation with Air Force units that were down here and a couple of Navy units as well,” explained another Green Knight, Capt. Jonathan Ashmore. “We were able to all fly together, then do mass debriefs where we could replay the entire exercise using the TCTS system. It seemed very user-friendly, and the system for us as far as debriefing worked really well.
“There were some limitations with the old system just based on range with the ground relay system,” Ashmore added. “This one has a much better capability further out over the water, and that enhances our training as far as allowing us to train in different areas, not just one range specifically. I think it would really enhance training when we are forward deployed or in other areas.”
Cubic’s Individual Combat Aircrew Display System (ICADS™) is used for TCTS debriefs. With ICADS, aircrews can evaluate their performance in formal debriefing theaters or on laptops using two-dimensional, three-dimensional and multiscreen views and high-resolution maps, zooming in and out on points of interest.
With these new technological advances, VMFA(AW)-121 and other fighter squadrons at MCAS Miramar will write a new chapter in the history of instrumented air combat training.
The TCTS system is due to become operational later this year at NAS Fallon, the current home of TOPGUN.
Cubic Corporation is the parent company of three major business segments: Defense Systems, Mission Support Services and Transportation Systems. Cubic Defense Systems is a leading provider of realistic combat training systems, cyber technologies, asset tracking solutions, and defense electronics. Mission Support Services is a leading provider of training, operations, maintenance, technical and other support services. Cubic Transportation Systems is the world’s leading provider of automated fare collection systems and services for public transit authorities. For more information about Cubic, see the company's Web site at www.cubic.com.