Cmdr. Andrew Hayes, PMA-205 NASTP team lead, pictured, accepted the NAWCAD Commander’s award for acquisition support on behalf of the PMA-205 Parachute Descent Procedure trainer transition team. Credit: U.S. Navy

The Naval Aviation Training Systems and Ranges program office (PMA-205) Naval Aviation Survival Training Program (NASTP) team has been awarded the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) Commander’s Award for their acquisition support in developing an affordable and effective Parachute Descent Procedure (PDP) trainer. The award ceremony was held in Patuxent River on January 25th.

The PDP trainer transition team is a geographically dispersed team consisting of personnel from multiple organizations and competencies, including the PMA-205 NASTP team, the NAWCTSD Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation department, and the Naval Survival Training Institute. They successfully developed and executed a procurement strategy that delivered a capable and affordable fleet training system, improving training capabilities and ensuring warfighter survival readiness at approximately half of the previous system costs.

The PDP trainer provides hands-on training in simulated parachute descent procedures in a post-ejection or bailout scenario. The team leveraged Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) development efforts to mature and transition a solution that ensures the acquisition support effort delivers a capability that meets aviation survival training objectives necessary for warfighter proficiency in critical lifesaving skills.

The new PDP trainer design leverages display-based technology instead of the traditional head-mounted display (HMD) solutions, providing projected out-year cost avoidance due to the longevity of traditional displays with better durability and lower replacement part costs. The approved acquisition strategy results in significant upfront cost savings for initial procurement, representing an initial acquisition savings of almost half for the delivery of units.

“I am very proud of the entire PDP Trainer Transition team for their hard work in bringing this critical training system to the fleet,” said Capt. Kevin McGee, PMA-205 program manager. “Our team recognizes the importance of the parachute as one of the last lines of defense our aircrew has in an emergent situation, and this critical trainer prepares them for what to do should the worst outcome occur.”

The simplicity of the new design decreases trainee setup time and increases training efficiency in the schoolhouse. The team facilitated significant end-user testing to validate the high-fidelity virtual environment capable of capturing trainee behavior and providing instructors information on trainee performance for enriched after-action reviews and what-if scenarios.

In a statement, Rear Adm. John Dougherty, NAWCAD commander, said, “Winners today thought outside the box, took risk where it made sense, and led their teams in delivering capability, enhancing availability, affordability, and safety. Your programs are examples of expert leadership and teamwork for the rest of the command.”

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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