The Virtual Paint Simulator uses virtual reality goggles, sensors and valve index hand controllers to teach students the skills needed to paint aircraft and aircraft panels.

'A' School IPT Advances Virtual Paint Simulator Training Systems


State-of-the-art VR provides cost benefits, improved student throughput

The Naval Aviation Training Systems and Ranges Program Office (PMA-205) “A” School Integrated Product Team (IPT) provided a rapid, cost effective, and improved solution for upgrading aging “A” School Virtual Paint Simulator (VPS) training systems using state-of-the-art virtual reality technology.  

“I commend the “A” School IPT for their dedication and hard work, providing effective training solutions to CNATT [Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training], resulting in a reduction of costs, and an increase in proficiency for students utilizing the training facilities,” stated Capt. Kevin McGee, PMA-205 program manager.

Nearly a decade ago, the CNATT headquarters (HQ), located in Pensacola, acquired three VPS systems used at three separate CNATT sites. Delivering the legacy VPS systems to the three initial sites significantly reduced training costs by eliminating much of the consumable materials for training such as paint, preparation, and cleanup materials. The time saved also increased student throughput and proficiency. As a result, CNATT HQ wanted to expand the use of the VPS systems into five additional training facilities. 

Components on the original VPS systems were beginning to fail more regularly, and replacement parts were becoming more difficult to obtain.  At the time the team began this acquisition effort, CNATT HQ noted that instructors would be unable to implement required paint and finish courses within an estimated 18 months. The team was aware that speed of delivery, as well as financial responsibility, would be critical in meeting the needs of the CNATT school house.

The “A” School IPT met this need by providing a state-of-the-art, commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) solution that could be rapidly deployed. Knowing the current VPS system was a COTS product, the team used this to their advantage. The updated VPS system was also a COTS solution, allowing them to utilize the appropriate reduced Information Assurance processes for COTS materials.

The team quickly developed specifications that met training requirements and created the relevant abbreviated contracting documentation. In addition, the IPT implemented parallel efforts to develop and produce required documentation. These approaches resulted in a contract award only nine months from project initiation.

In the next six months, the contractor finalized the state-of-the-art VPS design and completed the first full installation of the updated VPS system.  Within 20 months from project initiation, all eight systems were delivered to various worldwide CNATT locations and designated as Ready for Training.

“We are incredibly proud of the work being done by the 'A' School IPT,” said Martin Negron, General Training program manager. “The team met their goals while utilizing a competitive acquisition strategy, reducing program costs. These new VPS trainers provide improved operational training across eight sites worldwide, and initial feedback from the instructors has been extremely positive noting enhanced device capabilities and improved student knowledge and proficiency.”

The “A” School IPT streamlined the acquisition process to deliver the training capability as quickly and judiciously as possible.  Due to this successful effort, the eight CNATT facilities will hold 88 VPS classes to train the student load in fiscal year 2024, saving $125,840 and 167.2 gallons of paint. This savings represents a 33% return on investment continued annually. 

The VPS connects to a Pressure Feed Mach 1 spray gun to provide a realistic painting experience, allowing students to use the exact spray gun also used in the Fleet.

Public Affairs Officer Contact:

Contact Us

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.