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Keesler AFB, Vandenberg AFB Airmen build missile maintenance trainer

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Airmen from the 81st Training Support Squadron Simware section here are partnering with Airmen from the 532nd Training Squadron at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., to build an ICBM maintenance virtual trainer.

The importance of this training system can't be overstated as acquisition of the IMVT is the number one nuclear training priority for Air Education and Training Command's nuclear task force, according to Ronald Washburn, the 81st TRSS Simware development section chief.

"IMVT addresses certain training shortcomings by providing critical-training instruction at Vandenberg's missile maintenance officer course," Mr. Washburn said. "It builds upon course fundamentals by introducing comprehensive maintenance generation scenarios to ensure graduates comprehend ICBM maintenance capabilities in relation to combatant commander requirements and national security strategy."

"Our mission at the 532nd Training Squadron is to graduate the highest quality missile maintainers in the world," said Lt. Col. Suzet Schreier, the 523rd TS commander. "The quality of the training we provide is increased significantly by adding this simulation technology to our curriculum. It not only brings our training environment from the 20th to the 21st century, it is (also) flexible. It allows us to expand and enhance the simulation possibilities for our students as our curriculum changes and evolves to meet the growing needs of the Air Force."

Development of the trainer is taking place over more than two years at a cost of about $800,000, significantly less than the $3.6 million that had been earmarked for construction by a contractor, officials said. Final delivery to the 532nd TRS is set for late 2012.

However, to provide initial-training capabilities as soon as possible, the 81st TRSS Simware team and trainer development flight have been working closely with Vandenberg AFB subject-matter experts to install communication systems, computer networks and initial-simulator-system capabilities, officials said.

"There was no contractual requirement to install this equipment until 2012, but the IMVT team realized that training could be immediately impacted in a very positive way with a little more work, so it was an easy decision to make," Mr. Washburn said. "There is much more work to be accomplished, but the partnership between Keesler (Air Force Base) and Vandenberg (Air Force Base is strong. Working together, mission success will be achieved."

Vandenberg AFB instructors are pleased with this new training capability and are using this new technology for their next class.

"IMVT not only provides a world-class training resource for the nuclear enterprise today, it also utilizes an approach to training that ICBM wings can use in the future to support supplemental and advanced training needs for demanding maintenance scenarios," said Col. Michael Lutton, the 381st Training Group commander.

"The nuclear maintenance business is a no-failure business like all nuclear areas," he said. "IMVT now provides a full-spectrum simulation capability for our maintainers."