H-1, H-60, H-53, and V-22 Aircrew Obtain Aerial Gunnery Qualifications Through Local Training Exercise
A unique training opportunity for H-1, H-60, H-53, and V-22 aircrew members provided a rare opportunity for aircrews to regain aerial gunnery qualifications in a cost-efficient manner. The multi-program training was completed on July 11 at the Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River firing tunnel, hosted by Air Vehicle Stores Compatibility (AVSC) H-1 Engineering Technician, Michael Hunt.
The low-cost, local exercise provided aircrew members with valuable training to maintain proficiency with the weapons they utilized in the fleet operating force. Conducting the evolution in the firing tunnel saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in flight, man, and range hours for the H-1 Light/Attack Helicopter Program Office (PMA-276) and the H-60 Multi-Mission Helicopters Program Office (PMA-299).
The training exercise provided AVSC, aeromechanics, propulsion, mission system, Naval Munitions Command (NMC), and firing tunnel branch employees with invaluable exposure, context, and appreciation for the operation of crew-served weapons in relation to the aerial gunnery mission. The event also facilitated a safe, efficient, and mission-relatable test environment in concert with the project officers, delivering a highly technical and mission-focused test team. This opportunity was particularly valuable for a new external gun mount program planned for the H-60 aircraft.
“This training exercise proved extremely beneficial to the aircrew members and was completed at an extremely low cost to the involved program offices. Training exercises like this keep developmental test aircrew in tune with the mission sets exercised by their fleet counterparts and provide the engineers and subject matter experts hands-on experience and interaction with the systems and personnel they support,” said Hunt.
As a result of the training exercise, the H-60, H-1, H-53, and V-22 test teams satisfied a total of 11 training and readiness codes for their aircrew. Forty-eight Air Vehicle Test and Evaluation (AVT&E) employees were afforded the opportunity to shoot the weapons they may potentially test in the future and acquired a better understanding of real-world crew-served weapon employment and testing.